TRIED ON LIVES
Novel (Corvina), 2012, 176 pages
When we were unhappy, we have all thought at one time or another how nice it would be to have another life. We’d surely be happier, luckier, more successful. We’d remedy our bad decisions and choose a profession that suited us instead of working only because we had to. We’d have more quality time for our families, and with our new self-confidence march toward our goals with steady strides.
Anna, the young, openhearted teacher often dreams about a chance to live a different life. Her persistent self-confidence makes her feel that she’s confined, once and for all, to the shady side of life. When she looks in the mirror, she sees herself as an uninteresting, gray little mouse that doesn’t deserve real love and recognition. Though she has deep feelings and valuable thoughts deep inside, her feelings of inferiority keep her from recognizing and showing them. She thinks how much better her life would be if only she could try herself out with a new personality and a more attractive appearance. Then suddenly one summer, her wish comes true, and she is given a chance to try on various new feminine roles. She experiences what it is like to be a top model who draws the eyes of men like a magnet, who heaps success on top of success and basks in the sun of the worshipful glances of her admirers. But then behind the lights and the cameras she discovers the truth – that at the bottom of her soul she yearns for something else and is not satisfied with being the center of attention because of her beautiful figure.
She is given a chance to be transformed and assume the role of an intelligent psychiatrist. She can now put her success does to her sharp wit and profound gift for sympathy. Then a tragic event shocks her into the realization that her life, which she thought was complete, is merely an illusion. Though her colleagues appreciate her devotion to her work and the number of her healed and appreciative patients grows, when she loses her beloved grandmother, her only living relative, she realizes that she is alone in the world. Because she lived only for her calling, she turned her back on the feelings that could have bound her to others. She’d do things differently, if only she could, and bathe in the love of her family day after day.
One morning, when she wakes up, she finds herself in her new role as a wife in a tranquil village who devotes her life to her husband and two children. The perfect solution, if only she were not nagged by the need to be a talented artist as well as a wife and mother. This new career with its new challenges pops up again and again in her imagination in the shape of travel to foreign lands, and she feels that she must meet it.
The small, mystical turn of events that moves the narrative along surfaces once more, and Anna finds herself within the walls of a modern office building. On one of her trips abroad she meets Edward, but the miles separating them threatens to weaken the love they feel for each other. Should she leave her roots and give up her former life for the man she loves? And would Edward’s little boy, who lives with Edward, accept her? After much soul searching, Anna realizes that she could not turn her back on her homeland, family and friends in favor of an uncertain future. And so, the new life she had wanted so much failed her again.
However, before she can give herself over to despair, she finds her teaching schedule in her bag and rushes off to school. She has made a full circle back to herself, and it is the Anna we came to know at the beginning of the book who returns between its lines. Or is she just a little bit different? The numerous lives she tried on were not in vain. The woman she had always been has surfaced, and now, freed of anxiety, she can embrace her with open arms. She can now accept words of praise and happy moments with an open heart, not to mention the man who is out there somewhere, waiting just for her. She can now look in the mirror with satisfaction. This was her present from fate and her unusual journey, one that conducted her through a variety of lives.
GERMAN SYNOPSIS ALSO AVAILABLE
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 four popular novels and a collection of short stories about women. More on the author