Thu, Jun 14 – Tue, Jul 17: Traffic restrictions around HKW. More...

Zsófia Bán: Als nur die Tiere lebten

Translated from the Hungarian by Terézia Mora
Suhrkamp Verlag 2014
(Amikor még csak az állatok éltek; Magvető, Budapest 2012)

About the book

On the beach of Rio de Janeiro, the little Anna is separated from her mother. After a brief, nightmarish moment of being lost, when the little girl finally finds her mother standing at the water’s edge and approaches her from behind, she hears her mother utter a despairing “Even here, even here!” But it is only decades later that the photographer Anna learns to understand the meaning of these words, above all who her mother was, who spoke seven languages, but could not speak to her child in even one of then, when at a research station in the Antarctic she takes photographs of the natural phenomenon of white out, a white that devours all. Emigration, unrooting, the brutal tear that divides a life into a before and after—these experiences form the center of gravity in the fifteen stories of this collection.

The jury on the short list nomination

“Zsófia Bán’s novel is fragmented into many pieces, just like the stories it tells. They are about new beginnings and losses, films and images in which time collects and stops, Hungarians dispersed around the globe, animals, snakes and dogs, dreams and longings, departures and moments of rediscovery. Terézia Mora has rendered Bán’s poetic language, rich in allusion, in a wonderfully clear German, where the melancholic nostalgia for an old central European linguistic world continues to echo between the lines.”

Als nur die Tiere lebten

Als nur die Tiere lebten

Translated from the Hungarian by Terézia Mora
Suhrkamp Verlag 2014
(Amikor még csak az állatok éltek; Magvető, Budapest 2012)

About the book

On the beach of Rio de Janeiro, the little Anna is separated from her mother. After a brief, nightmarish moment of being lost, when the little girl finally finds her mother standing at the water’s edge and approaches her from behind, she hears her mother utter a despairing “Even here, even here!” But it is only decades later that the photographer Anna learns to understand the meaning of these words, above all who her mother was, who spoke seven languages, but could not speak to her child in even one of then, when at a research station in the Antarctic she takes photographs of the natural phenomenon of white out, a white that devours all. Emigration, unrooting, the brutal tear that divides a life into a before and after—these experiences form the center of gravity in the fifteen stories of this collection.

Zsófia Bán | © Miklós Szüts

Zsófia Bán | © Miklós Szüts

About the author

Zsófia Bán, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1957, grew up in Brazil and Hungary, and is a prominent art and literary critic. She has worked in film studios, as an exhibition curator, and teaches American studies in Budapest. In 2010 she received a scholarship from the LCB in Berlin, in 2014, she was writer-in-residence in Zug (Switzerland) and a year later was scholarship holder in the Berlin artists’ program of the DAAD. Her debut volume Esti iskola: olvasókönyv felnőtteknek was awarded the Attila József Prize in 2008.

Recent publication:
Abendschule: Fibel für Erwachsene
Suhrkamp 2012, trans. by Terézia Mora
(Esti iskola: olvasókönyv felnőtteknek, Kalligram, Budapest 2007)Terézia Mora: Nicht sterben
Luchterhand 2015

Terézia Mora | © Peter von Felbert

Terézia Mora | © Peter von Felbert

About the translator

Terézia Mora, born in Sopron, Hungary, in 1971, has lived in Berlin since 1990 and is one of the most prominent translators from Hungarian into German. For her literary debut, the collection of short stories Seltsame Materie, she was awarded the literature prize Open Mike (1997) the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis (1999) and the Adelbert-von-Chamisso-Förderpreis (2000). For her third book Das Ungeheuer she was awarded the Deutscher Buchpreis in fall of 2013. She is a member of the German PEN Center and was elected to membership in the German Academy for Language and Literature in 2015. She already translated Zsófia Báns debut roman, as well as several works by Péter Esterházy.

Recent publications:
Terézia Mora: Nicht sterben
Luchterhand 2015

Terézia Mora: Das Ungeheuer
Luchterhand 2013

Recent translations:
Zsófia Bán: Abendschule: Fibel für Erwachsene
Suhrkamp 2012, trans. by Terézia Mora
(Esti iskola: olvasókönyv felnőtteknek, Kalligram, Budapest 2007)

Péter Esterházy: Ein Produktionsroman (Zwei Produktionsromane)
Berlin-Verlag 2010, trans. by Terézia Mora
(Termelési-regény (kisssregény), Magvető, Budapest 2004)

Péter Esterházy: Keine Kunst
Berlin Verlag 2009, trans. by Terézia Mora
(Semmi művészet, Magvető, Budapest 2008)