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The joyous tree of life

(Book Review)


A fairytale? An esoteric novel? A realist narrative that veers towards mythology? A moral parable? An exploratory, psychological, coming-of-age narrative that progresses towards increasingly palpable self-awareness? Or perhaps all of these concurrently? This summation is indeed the most accurate way of describing the genre presented in this young author’s debut novel. The narrative paints a vivid picture of the topsy-turvy lives of today’s young university students in adventurous Budapest. At the same time, she gradually diverts the story onto a mythological dimension via a progressively more lucid evaluation of her own life and mission. The action shifts from the capital city simultaneously to the timeless inner reaches of the soul and to the universe of Szekler (Székely) Transylvanian and European fairytales. The reader’s attention is then directed back and forth between a social and spiritual analysis of the present, Hungarian legends of old, and the paths of an envisioned life that leads to joy and happiness. The narrative unfolds into a mesmerizing revelation of who the author actually is: the protagonist-novelist in reality, the values she holds dear, and the forces that guide her through the earthly and celestial realms of her youth. The book thus beckons an audacious liberation of dreams about people and their possibilities in life, a scintillating game of the imagination with time and knowledge cum anthropological message, all at the same time. This autobiographical story of magic is set firmly in the present yet gazes avidly into the future. It fuses ancient Hungarian legend with high poetry, seeking a moral perspective for people in the third millennium. To make their time on Earth more gratifying, by embracing their own innate “fairy” traits. The book is also a treasure trove of factual folkloristic, linguistic and mythological knowledge, boasts stellar composition, a gutsy heroine, and an enchanting worldview. All of which indisputably rank this dazzling modern-day Bildungsroman in the top league of 20th- and 21st century mythical and esoteric novels. Like a pulsating, sparkling, crystal clear stream, the narrative flow sweeps the reader into Fairy Land. Here, the possibilities and potential of human existence in all its glory are revealed through beguiling thrills of intricate storytelling. The tree of life proffers glimpses of magnificent hope, a promise of joy and contentment.


Prof. Dr. Zoltán Jánosi