Author's page

Biography

1962 (14th March) born in Budapest
1981–1982 studies at Debrecen University
1982–1986 graduates in History and Hungarian Philology from Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest
1986–1990 freelance writer
1989– present member of the Hungarian Writers’ Association
1990 columnist for the literary Kritika
1991–1995 editor of Hungarian Radio’s Literature Department
1992–1997 on the board of Young Writers’ Circle
1995– present Chief editor of Hungarian Radio’s Literature Department
1995–1996 editor for the bulletins for the Young Writers’ Circle
1997– present member of the Belletrists’ Society

His prizes include:
1990 Zsigmond Móricz Scholarship, 1992 1st prize of Magyar Napló’s Örkény Short Story Writing Contest, 1992 The Soros Foundation’s Literary Prize, 1997 István Örkény Prize, 1st prize of 2000’s Short Story Writing Contest, Eötvös Scholarship, The National Cultural Foundation’s Scholarship, 1st Prize of Élet és Irodalom’s Short Story Writing Contest, 2004 1st Prize in the Short Story Category of “Our Mother Tongue” Contest

Stories from the Lives of Miraculous Babies. A Travelogue
1998

This collection’s subtitle (‘a travelogue’), indicates Kőrösi’s approach: each of the 46 stories is introduced by a photo, one of György Czabán’s pictures of familiar Hungarian cities or towns and well-known literary figures. The book is permeated with a sense of cosiness and, yet, mystery. The stories begin with alienating phrases (“they say”, “rumour has it”, “as the saying goes”), and in this fictional framework, events are governed and ruined by mysterious child-beings, who are continuously appearing before us, then disappearing all the same. Our sense of transcendence, however, is counterbalanced by the author’s resigned, calm sentences. “The world is incapable of living with wonders or learning anything whatsoever from them, and they pass just as unnoticed, as their origins cannot be explained. In this respect, it is irrelevant whether we see the miracles with our own eyes or have it all only from hearsay: our puzzlement remains the same. Kőrösi’s narrator travels through the country with this clear recognition in mind, as if he were fulfilling a task he had received from some higher authority, a task that, as he very well knows, can never be finished. It is only a final resignation that can inform us of the nature of the world. The bravura of the book lies in the fact that this resignation does not become tragic in the space of the written page, or in other words, in the figure of the narrator, but in me, the reader, when I’m thinking about the book afterwards. This is why I think this book does not give an account of the stories of the miraculous life of the babies, but keeps silent about the cold, impassionate and barren pain of being cast into the world.” -Gábor Németh

Tiny Noses. A Greater Budapest Love Story
2000

The novel draws together story lines and motifs from Kőrösi’s earlier short-story collections in a multi-stranded construction in which happiness, romance, peace and the stars are the four main recurrent elements. One day in October 1999, young Ádám Bárány (‘Lamb’) leaves his job at a slaughterhouse near Lake Balaton to take up a new job at a research institute in Budapest. One of his colleagues there is Katalin Farkas (‘Wolf’), who may or may not be the same person as the pretty, black haired Katalin whom he encountered on the train travelling to the city. The ensuing romance has a sinister counterpart in a parallel plot relating a chilling series of attacks made by a wolf or, rather, a wolf-man figure, which draws on and expands centuries-old legends, interlacing them with authentic anecdotes concerning some of the Hungarian Communist Party’s own wolves: leaders such as Rákosi, Gerő, Kádár and, indeed, Mihály Farkas. As the novel notes at one point: “What was, is; what is, was.” While following these plot lines, we encounter a kaleidoscope of little stories, some relating to Ádám’s family, others to such events as the visit made by a Party boss to the Young Pioneers’ camp, or the fate of an unfortunate electrician. Yet for all its horrors, Tiny Noses manages to justify its subtitle: ‘A Greater Budapest Love Story’, for its real protagonist is the capital itself: “the most odoriferous city in the world, a city of love, a city of happy dreams”. Kőrösi congers up an enigmatic thriller from his urban novel. “Zoltán Kőrösi has written a great novel. A restrained love story, precise yet mysterious.” -László Bedecs, Élet és Irodalom

What Is a Woman's Breast Like?
2006

Both a family saga and a love story, this novel tells the intertwined stories of the Flaschner family, who originally emigrated from Moravia to the Hungarian town of Baja, of the marriage and children of Péter Weimand (later Vágó), who resettles from what was Upper Hungary (now Slovakia), and of Ilona Orlik, from another immigrant family, in her case Galician. The characters are followed from the mid-nineteenth century, with all the major events of Hungary’s recent history as a backdrop, including the first and second world wars, the Holocaust, the 1956 Revolution, and the 1989 change of régime. The stories of the various families and individuals are not told chronologically, but the events are linked by definitive motifs. The author has taken the opportunity to incorporate in this volume a number of short stories from his earlier works. “A mature, gripping, startling book has emerged which confronts us with the fact that, however we live, ‘time does not exist for us to survive it, its purpose is for us to relive it again and again’—but then it is not given to everyone to be one of Fortune’s darlings.” -Boglárka Nagy, Élet és Irodalom

Years of Love—Cowardice
2009

Years of Love—Cowardice Zoltán Kőrösi (b. 1962) is a writer who loves writing family sagas (and is also highly proficient about doing it). That is true of his latest offering, with the connecting dash in the title being perhaps the most significant element. It enacts Hungarian history of the 20th century, along with his private history and the history of his generation, in such a way that it unfolds a family saga of the country. The story begins in the 1920s, with the reader getting to know the first generation of the family on the threshold of the second world war. The second generation attempts to reach a compromise with history when the Communists reinforced their grip on power in the immediate postwar period. The young man becomes an army officer without really being able to gauge what is at stake. It is in that stifling ambience that the embodiment of the third generation, the narrator’s father, is born. It is on this era, the 1970s, that the novel is focused—a period when Hungary displayed a distinctive double face, when it was “the happiest barracks” in the Soviet bloc, being measurably the freest as compared with the rest, with the country being characterised by a rich culture and also by readily satisfied middle-class aspirations, following the consolidation and modernisation brought by Kádár’s régime (with the official expunging of the memory of 1956). As time passed, however, the untenability and illegitimacy that lay behind the scenery of that seemingly idyllic calm increasingly made themselves felt. This generation were around thirty years old when the Berlin Wall fell, at the end of 1989, and essentially with it the entire bloc. At this truly historic juncture, in somewhat didactic fashion on the very day that the newly independent Republic of Hungary is declared, the birth of the narrator takes place. And he relates the story, at times heroic, at times somewhat cowardly, of his family in pages whose sensitive sentences capture the redolence of the smells of Hungarian villages, the late-autumnal mood of Hungarian small towns, the dull tingle of Budapest.

Download contents in PDF!