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The White King: A Novel ePub download

by Paul Olchváry,György Dragomán

  • Author: Paul Olchváry,György Dragomán
  • ISBN: 0618945172
  • ISBN13: 978-0618945177
  • ePub: 1596 kb | FB2: 1298 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: Literary
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Translation edition (March 18, 2008)
  • Pages: 272
  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Votes: 694
  • Format: lrf lrf mobi mbr
The White King: A Novel ePub download

György Dragomán was a boy living in Romania under the communist dictator Ceausecu during the 1980's. The White King: A Novel is a remarkable piece of writing and a touching portrayal of a child navigating a terrifyingly cruel and yet very realistic environment.

György Dragomán was a boy living in Romania under the communist dictator Ceausecu during the 1980's.

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György Dragomán (born 10 September 1973) is a Hungarian author and literary translator. He was born in Târgu Mureș (Marosvásárhely) Transylvania, Romania. In 1988, his family moved to Hungary. He attended high school in the western Hungarian city of Szombathely, then college in Budapest, getting a degree in English and Philosophy.

For a translator this was a rare pleasure, and it was much appreciated. PAUL OLCHVÁRY has translated many books from Hungarian, including Károly Pap's novel Azarel (Steerforth), and has received translation awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN America, and Hungary's Milán Füst Foundation.

by György Dragomán, translated by Paul Olchváry. 320pp, Doubleday, £1. 9. The novel won awards in Hungary, and it's easy to see why. It's the Just William books teamed up with Nineteen Eighty-Four; a superb novel about childhood, schooldays and gang fights, but one that manages to put the world of the adults firmly into focus as well. The first few chapters struggle in a sort of Joycean-Beckettian straitjacket (as an indication of his intellectual weight, Dragomán translated Watt into Hungarian for fun), but then Dragomán forgets all that and lets the narrative rip, shifting the characters around like he's Stephen King or Elmore Leonard.

The White King, a short novel illuminating two years of preteen narrator Djata's life under an unnamed regime strongly resembling Ceausescu's Romania, is a sort of Lord of the Flies meets Viktor Pelevin. Most of the characters are schoolboys, but their universe is a microcosm of the authoritarian communist world around them, and this adult world spills into and informs every aspect of their lives.

Gyorgy Dragoman, Paul Olchvary. Disturbing, compelling, beautifully translated' The Times. Electric, urgent, luminous. a coming-of-age with a difference' Daily Mail. Eleven-year-old Djata makes sure he is always home on Sundays. It is the day the State Security came to take his father away, and he believes it will be a Sunday when his father finally comes home again. While he waits, Djata lives out a life of adventure.

Throughout, György Dragomán devoted painstaking attention to my. .About the Translator.

GYÖRGY DRAGOMÁN is thirty-four years old. A Samuel Beckett scholar and film critic, he has also translated works by James Joyce, Ian McEwan, Irvine Welsh, and Micky Donnelly into Hungarian.

Translated by Paul Olchvary. 263 pp. Houghton Mifflin Company. Continue reading the main story.

With THE WHITE KING, György Dragomán won the prestigious Sándor Márai prize . An urgent, humorous and melancholy picture of a childhood behind the Iron Curtain it introduces a stunning new voice in contemporary fiction. sums up the lunacy of Ceausescu's regime better than anything else I've read. Tibor Fischer, Guardian.

An international sensation, this startling and heartbreaking debut introduces us to precocious eleven-year-old Djata, whose life in the totalitarian state he calls home is about to change forever.Djata doesn’t know what to make of the two men who lead his father away one day, nor does he understand why his mother bursts into tears when he brings her tulips on her wedding anniversary. He does know that he must learn to fill his father’s shoes, even though among his friends he is still a boy: fighting with neighborhood bullies, playing soccer on radioactive grass, having inappropriate crushes, sneaking into secret screening rooms, and shooting at stray cats with his gun-happy grandfather. But the random brutality of Djata’s world is tempered by the hilarious absurdity of the situations he finds himself in, by his enduring faith in his father’s return, and by moments of unexpected beauty, hope, and kindness. Structured as a series of interconnected stories propelled by the energy of Dragomán’s riveting prose, the chapters of The White King collectively illuminate the joys and humiliations of growing up, while painting a multifaceted and unforgettable portrait of life in an oppressive state and its human cost. And as in the works of Mark Haddon, David Mitchell, and Marjane Satrapi, Djata’s child’s-eye view lends power and immediacy to his story, making us laugh and ache in recognition and reminding us all of our shared humanity.
György Dragomán was a boy living in Romania under the communist dictator Ceausecu during the 1980's. In this series of connected short stories that do read seamlessly like a novel, the thirty-four-year-old Dragomán writes from the perspective of an eleven/twelve year old boy whose father, he hopes, has been taken away to work on some kind of important research. The anguish from knowing the darker truth dogs this boy as he races along in his pre-adolescent life as any boy anywhere would--playing made-up games with opposing teams of other kids; getting in trouble in school for seemingly minor infractions, trying to second guess his football coach, noticing a cute girl. Yet this boy's days are made darker from the culture of the cruel police state he lives under. An unrelenting sense of serious danger and no hope for protection underlies every moment in this fast-paced story.

For these reasons, The White King: A Novel, published in March of 2008, has been an instant hit with several of my high school students, mostly boys but a few girls, who are already enthusiastic readers. These students, still struggling to grasp the subtleties of sentence composition in their own writing, are also fascinated with the unusual and extremely effective writing style of this author. Dragomán runs his sentences together for paragraphs and sometimes pages at a time in order to keep his reader at a pace with his young, tense, heroic, pre-adolescent sufferer. He takes license with word usage too (translated) but never misses his target, keeping his protagonist moving and unstable but never falling.

The White King: A Novel is a remarkable piece of writing and a touching portrayal of a child navigating a terrifyingly cruel and yet very realistic environment. While it may not be the first book to give to a reluctant high school reader, I highly recommend it for established high school readers, jaded from reading too much run-of-the-mill fantasy or horror and looking for a book they do not want to put down. Not just for teenagers, this book is also a great read for adults.
Very accurate description of childhood under communism. The book is presented through the eye of an 11-year-old boy. It was very emotional to relive my childhood. Amazing book.
This gripping story of a blighted Iron Curtain boyhood is told in vignettes like lightning flashes on a ruined landscape. The 11-year-old hero survives his father’s disappearance, his Party-connected grandfather’s malevolence, and neighborhood gang wars. Bloodied but unbowed, Djata keeps struggling against impossible odds. Yes, it’s grim, but it’s also, oddly enough, very funny and uplifting.
This book was a disappointment. While it was an interesting look at life in a totalitarian society, it didn't live up to its description. I was expecting the main character to go searching for his disappeared father, but instead every chapter is just a scene in the boy's life not really tied to any "quest." I was hoping for a bit more of a journey.

With respect to the harsh life in a totalitarian society, the book did illustrate how uncivil communities can become. Although, the author could have left out just a few of the "I'll beat your brains out" comments.
It's a shame when a book as tightly written and as fully realized as "The White King" doesn't get the recognition it deserves. The truth is, even if "The White King" had gained just a smidgen of attention, it wouldn't have been enough - this is one of the best coming-of-age novels I've had the pleasure of reading.

"The White King" is technically told through standalone short stories. At the beginning of the book, it feels as though each chapter builds its own little world - plot, characters, message. The stories can at first feel a little imbalanced as such, taking a while before falling into place as an overall novel. And soon characters begin to return, references to previous chapters crop up, and the overall themes start to come together. "The White King" cannot be called a collection of short stories - though the chapters can mostly survive outside the framework of the overall novel, there is more tying them together than simply our unnamed narrator. The last chapters in particular no longer felt like wholly individual stories, instead delving deeper into half-thoughts and stories previously raised. The effect is quite powerful.

Yes, "The White King" has political overtones. But because Dragoman narrates his story through a relatively young boy, there are never any overt and obvious in-your-face political references. Dragoman does an excellent job of capturing the mind and heart of an eleven year old boy, both in his occasionally mature outlook on life, as well as his usually limited one. The narrator observes certain facts (which are then relayed to us, the readers), but he does not make the necessary connections that an adult might make. His perspective on life is growing, changing, but it is not yet fully matured. This approached, coupled with entirely believable childish tendencies (such as reminding readers/himself of an event that happened a few chapters earlier), makes the narrator one of the most believable and natural young adult characters in modern literature. I do not say this lightly.

Dragoman's writing fits his story. There is a young crispness to his writing style, a clean approach that doesn't get bogged down in over-descriptions and convoluted writing. The flow is wonderful; the pacing is even and well-balanced, partly buoyed by the gentle resets after each chapter. This isn't your typical "beautiful writing", but something about it resonated very strongly with me. It was easy to read, but never simplistic. Dragoman doesn't use melodrama to make his point, and he uses subtlety to present readers with the harsh reality of our narrator's world.

I cannot overstate my praise for "The White King". This is a wonderfully written, characterized and plotted novel about a life that will be both unfamiliar to most English-speaking readers, as well as wholly natural to them. Years later, I can still recall with perfect clarity the strength of Dragoman's writing, or feel the narrator's thoughts as my own.

Highly recommended.
Gyorgy Dragoman has produced a gem of book, counterpoising the classic coming of age tale of a young people against the bizarre and sometimes terryfing realities of life for ordinary people behind the Iron Curtain. His real skill lies in making wake up to dynamics of daily life in a police state while simultaneously allowing the innocent narrator to portray them as normal. "The White King" is a powerful, shocking and deeply moving read.
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