First Fiction Fridays: Never, Again

November 18, 2016

Poet and playwright Endre Farkas flexes his prowess for language and dialogue in his debut novel,  Never, Again (Signature Editions). Following a young boy beginning school at the dawn of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the novel deals with devastating civil unrest but also the compassion that can come from unexpected places, all through the eyes of a child.

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What:

Never, Again (Signature Editions, 2016)

Who: 

Endre Farkas, poet, playwright and novelist, was born in Hajdunánás Hungary. The child of Holocaust survivors, he and his family fled Hungary when the nightly mobs began chanting “Kill the Commies and kill the Jews.” He has lived in Montreal ever since. Never, Again, his first novel, is loosely based on his family’s experiences during the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. He has also published a dozen books of poetry and has had two plays produced 

Why you need to read this now:

Never, Again is the story of Tomi Wolfstein, a seven-going-on-eight boy in the town of Hajdubékes, who is just starting school in September of 1956. But: the 1956 Hungarian uprising irrevocably changes his and his family’s life. Tomi is about to learn not only his ABCs but the harsh and dark side of people. As he is exposed to hatred he doesn’t understand, he must confront his fears; but he also learns about his roots and discovers compassion and kindness in unexpected places. The story spans the three months of the revolution and Tomi’s adventures and loss of innocence during these chaotic months. 

Woven into this story of his journey from innocence to experience, and the quest for freedom, both for Tomi and Hungary, are his parents’ Holocaust experiences and Hungary’s inability to come to terms with its complicity in this horror.

Never, Again is a story about what happens to a young boy and his parents in the time of chaos, but it is also a cautionary tale for our times.

X plus Y:

Never, Again is Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird plus William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: it is from a child’s perspective and deals with horrors that challenge the physical and moral survival of the protagonist. 

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Thanks so much to Karen and Roanne at Signature Editions for sharing Never, Again with us (we hope they do it "again"). For more debut fiction, and fewer terrible puns, click here.


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