MEN IN A DAZE
A novel in stories (Corvina), 2014, 222 pages
Thirteen lives, a single night over the Atlantic. A passenger plane heading for Brasilia is flying across the ocean during the night, carrying on board the secrets of thirteen men. They are strangers to teach other, yet with their superior smiles, repressed inhibitions, the fire of new beginnings and the doubts that come with answers, they could just as well be acquainted. Our passengers sometimes fall asleep, then are startled awake, and we accompany them, not only on their plane journey, but in their past as well. The separate stories form themselves into a mosaic; we could regard them as short stories, except now and again the threads intertwine, past and present touch each other’s borders. Magdalena, the stewardess, initiates the reader into the secrets of the question marks behind the closed eyelids.
Can there be friendship between a man and a woman without eroticism? The enigmatic relationship between the sensitive artist and his model provides the answer. Why are people skeptical when a father stays home to watch the children? Aaron also harbors doubts about whether he did the right thing when he chose this role for himself. The line between hate and attraction is fragile, and can the introverted, eccentric bachelor turn towards the world? We are also afforded a glimpse into the lives of Kristóf, the fanatic body-builder, Tibor, who has an inferiority complex living with his college educated wife, and Dénes, who is incapable of letting go of his mother’s apron strings. But the lives or sudden changes in the lives of these men will appear unusual only at first glance, for we soon realize how often we meet with similar situations, for their lives hold up a mirror to us and our families.
In her previous books, the author initiated the reader mostly into the lives of women. Now, the stories she relates afford insight into the character of men, thereby making us realize an interesting duality. A man’s thoughts and feelings seem easier to understand on the surface, much more black and white than the more sensitive world of a woman. But if we dig deeper, we see that the souls of men are full of surprises. There is as much uncertainty, the clash of plans and reality, in them, the insistence on the unreachable. They wish to seem strong, but at the same time they harbor the little boy of whom only photographs remain as reminders, deep inside them. The symbol of the stories that unfold in the course of the plane journey is a state of being in a daze between wakefulness and sleep: the irresolvable questions of the revived events and the present. The plane lands, but we do not say farewell to its passengers; we can continue reflecting on them and on men in general. To solve the mystery of their being is a challenge, but it is also a present to the reader.
Dóra Galgóczi was born in 1974 in Budapest. Before her literary activities, after graduating from the College of Public Administration, she worked at the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, then, as an employee of the National Institute for Health Development she was involved in the organization of lifestyle trainings. She is the author of several popular novels and a collection of short stories about women. More on the author