Rankov in B O D Y: Winter Issue

After they finished the rosary, their mother made her usual plea:

Dear God, please bring Karcsi home safely from the war.”

Amen,” Péter and his father said.

No,” Karcsi said, “I don’t want to come home. Instead you should pray that I live a less depraved life in hell than I have in this world.”

The next morning Péter woke up early, but Karcsi was already gone. He must have taken the first train. That night their mother prayed as if Karcsi were already dead.

– from It Happened on the First of September (Or Some Other Time) by Pavol Rankov, translated from the Slovak by Magdalena Mullek.

The novel covers thirty years of Slovak, Central European and even world history, running from September 1, 1938 to September 1, 1968, following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. The excerpt published in B O D Y’s Winter Issue is 1942.

The novel caused Rankov to be chosen as the 14th laureate of this year’s European Union Prize for Literature and was just published by Three String Books in Magdalena Mullek’s excellent English translation.

Photo – Hungarian POW’s in WWII

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Categories: Magazines

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