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Paul Olchváry

Hungarian translator

Paul Olchváry has received grants from the NEA, PEN, and Hungary’s Milán Füst Foundation.


The Sinistra Zone

Fiction by Ádám Bodor

translated by Paul Olchváry

Entering a weird, remote hamlet, Andrei calls himself “a simple wayfarer,” but he is in fact highly compromised: he has no identity papers. Taken under the wing of the military zone’s commander, Andrei is first assigned to guard the blueberries that supply a nearby bear reserve. He is surrounded by human wrecks, supernatural umbrellas, birds carrying plagues, albino twins.

The bears — and an affair with a married woman — occupy Andrei until his protector is replaced by a new female commander, “a slender creature, quiet, diaphanous, like a dragonfly,” and yet an iron-fisted harridan. As things grow ever more alarming, Andrei becomes a “corpse watchman,” standing guard over the dead to check for any signs of life, and then …