Author's page

András SÜTŐ
( 1927 - 2006 )

Biography

1927 born in Pusztakamarás (Cãmãraºu, Romania)
1940-45 studies in Nagyenyed (Aiud)
1945 graduates from secondary school in Kolozsvár (Cluj)
1948 first short story published
1948-54 editor of the periodical Falvák Népe (Village People)
1958-89 editor of Új Élet (New Life)

His prizes include:
1951, 1954 State Prize of Romania, 1958 Drama Prize of the journal Igaz Szó, 1970, 1974 Prize of the Romanian Writer s Union, 1977 Prize of the Writer s Guild of Marosvásárhely, 1978 Milán Füst Prize, 1979 Herder Prize, 1987 Ernő Szép Prize, 1987-1988 Theatre Critics Prize, 1989 SZOT Prize, Book of the Year Prize, Prize for Hungarian Art, 1990 Gábor Bethlen Prize, 1991 Ius Humana Prize, 1992 Tiszatáj Prize, Kossuth Prize, 1993 Erzsébet Prize

Solomon Astray
1956

The works of András Sütő give a true picture of 20th century Transylvania. He is a regional writer who deals with universal ethical problems. He is principally concerned with the problems in his native land of Transylvania, especially those of the Hungarian community there. His sympathies lie with the poor, the people who must carry the weight of history, those in danger of losing their mother tongue, their traditional ways of life and even their very lives when facing the destructive powers of communism or extreme nationalism. At the beginning of his career—along with many intellectuals of his generation—he was an idealistic follower of social realism, hoping that the problems of the peasantry would be solved by the New World Order, but he was soon disillusioned. In this early book, a Móricz-like naturalism combines with the absurdities of history to relate the story of the humiliation of his parents by communist bureaucracy, of the struggle of honest people against a world that considers them abnormal. The story will be retold in a more realistic manner in his autobiography.

My Mother Promised Sweet Dreams
1970

At the beginning of this work, subtitled Notes to a Diary, the author s mother says, You could also write some sort of book about us. And such is a necessity: before long, no-one else will be left to tell their tale, or as stated in the introduction: Time has slipped up on all of us, and we slowly descend like the weights on a grandfather clock. Ever closer to the ground, then thud! we ve arrived, but there are no hands to pull the weights and wind the clock again. If there were only a little book, oh, not as a comfort, but as a testimony about what has happened to us. Since the publication of the book, András Sütő has become the herald and chronicler of the entire Transylvanian Hungarian population. This story covers the period from the Fifties to the Seventies and presents the trials and tribulations of the Hungarians and Romanians living in Pusztakamarás in Mezőség, focussing on Sütő s father, whose fate allows us to see the absurdity of an entire era. With great difficulty and an enormous amount of work and at his own expense and sacrifice, the talented mechanic worked for years to build a thresher, which the authorities took away from him. And not only that: they removed him from his own home, calling him a kulak and a class enemy. Numerous such examples may be found from these times. The poetic text, with constant sociographical precision, presents anecdotes, letters, documents and folk songs, as well as texts from political seminars of the Fifties, all mementoes of an era whose effects are still recognisable today.

Star at the Stake
1975

Give me the opportunity to refute your abominable lies! The burning of books is not the answer! It is not the answer to anything! Murder is not conviction. For the love of God, I ask you to convince me of my errors, convince me, convince me, convince me! Are you not ashamed when you declare your personal enemies heretics? Thus asks, indeed shouts, Michael Servetus, who was sent to the stake by his boyhood friend, John Calvin. The questions of community and the individual, as well as that of historical fate and free will are often examined in András Sütő s dramas. This morality play displays the conflict between two of the Reformation s great individuals, the law-abiding Calvin and the free-thinking Servetus, who for dramatic reasons are portrayed as former friends. Calvin strives by all means to strengthen Geneva s Protestant power even at the cost of human life, while Servetus adheres to his own notions, even in the shadow of the stake.

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