Review of "The Dispossessed" by Szilárd Borbély, trans. Ottilie Mulzet

Review of "The Dispossessed" by Szilárd Borbély, trans. Ottilie Mulzet

Review of "The Dispossessed" by Szilárd Borbély, trans. Ottilie Mulzet

To be, or not to be?

Hamlet’s enduring question is one that Szilárd Borbély, acclaimed Hungarian poet, verse-playwright, librettist, essayist, literary critic, short-story writer, and, finally, novelist, answered sadly in the negative, through his suicide in 2014, at the age of fifty.

Loss of life, voluntary or otherwise, permeates Borbély’s writing, evoking a preemptive grief for what must pass away—often violently and suddenly. Yet framing the loss and stitched inextricably through it is all the gusty, aching richness of life lived in spite of its inevitable transience; the animating spirit of its time, for good or ill.