Not Dying

Terézia Mora starts her Frankfurt poetics lectures with a powerful image. She tells how she once went to the cinema with her young daughter to see an animated cartoon film. In this film, a Stone Age family has to leave its cave and suddenly finds itself facing the strange and threatening world outside. In very much the same way, as an author Terézia Mora has always felt at the mercy of a world of disorders and irritations she must defend herself against but which at the same time also become the driving force behind her writing. How this comes about is what she speaks about in her lectures.

She talks in detail of the characters in her novels, when she first met them and of her intimate contacts with them, many of them fictitious friends since her childhood. She speaks of “secret texts”, which include the novels by other writers or Hungarian as the language of the country of her birth. And finally she comes to an important aspect of her writing: that which is drastic and why her stories always take radical turns. This makes Not Dying into an introduction to her work and literature in general that is as elucidating as it is fascinating.