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Voyage to Kazohinia [Paperback]

Sandor Szathmari , Inez Kemenes

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Book Description

July 3 2012
A page-turning dystopian classic that stands alongside Brave New World and Gulliver's Travels.

Voyage to Kazohinia is a tour de force of twentieth-century literature--and it is here published in English for the first time outside of Hungary. Sándor Szathmári's comical novel chronicles the travels of a modern Gulliver on the eve of World War II. A shipwrecked English ship's surgeon finds himself on an unknown island whose inhabitants, the Hins, live a technologically advanced existence without emotions, desires, arts, money, or politics. Soon unhappy amid this bleak perfection, Gulliver asks to be admitted to the closed settlement of the Behins, beings with souls and atavistic human traits. He has seen nothing yet. A massively entertaining mix of satire and science fiction, Voyage to Kazohinia has seen half a dozen editions in Hungary in the seventy years since its original publication and remains the country's most popular cult classic.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: New Europe Books (July 3 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982578121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982578124
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.1 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #823,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Massively entertaining! . . . Make room for the new Gulliver. He has brought home news out of Kazohinia." -- Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Out of Oz

Written in 1935, Voyage to Kazohinia is a strikingly postmodern and open-ended dystopia that rightfully belongs among the twentieth-century classics of the genre. And it is unique in being less a strident political cautionary tale than it is a brilliantly mordant reflection on government, reason, and language.”
—Carter Hanson, Associate Professor of English, Valparaiso University 

“[A] dystopian cult classic. . . . Gulliver washes up on the island of Kazohinia, which is populated by bizarre inhabitants . . . whose sense of morality and society force [him] to reconsider his own understanding of life, love, and death.” 
—Publishers Weekly
 
“Highly entertaining. . . . Readers familiar with the classic Swift satire will find much to admire here, but those unfamiliar with Gulliver’s Travels should still have a good time.” 
Booklist
 
"A satire on our world of power politics... clever and inventive." -- Allan Massie, The Wall Street Journal

"However you interpret it, the novel is most certainly a literary masterpiece." -- William Auld

"Like Milton . . . Szathmári is fascinated by humankind’s precarious oscillation between good and evil; and, like the novelist Aldous Huxley in Brave New World, he is deeply suspicious of notions of human perfectibility this side of heaven itself." --Humphrey Tonkin, President Emeritus of the University of Hartford


"As if Bradbury and Orwell had been mixed with fresh wild berries, Voyage to Kazohinia was so ahead of its time that its time still hasn't caught up. Perhaps now it will." --Miklos Vamos, author of The Book of Fathers

"Voyage to Kazohinia belongs on every bookshelf alongside the works of Orwell, Huxley, and Zamyatin." -- Gyorgy Dragoman, author of The White King.

"Sándor Szathmári writes in the best tradition of Jonathan Swift in using the framework of an adventure story for a fascinating in-depth exploration of human relationships. . . . And he remarkably brings off a crystal-clear style that never gets boring in the least."
--Reinhard Fössmeier, International Academy of the Sciences San Marino

"A powerful stimulus to thought. What distinguishes Voyage to Kazohinia from similar ventures and yet links it to Huxley's Brave New World is its description of both utopia and dystopia."
--Michel Duc Goninaz, author of La Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto (Complete Illustrated Esperanto Dictionary)

About the Author

Sándor Szathmári (1897-1974) was among the most extraordinary and elusive figures in twentieth-century Hungarian literature. The author of two published novels and several story collections in his native tongue, he is best known for Voyage to Kazohina--which, titled Kazohinia on most editions in Hungary, has been treasured by generations of readers.
Szathmári spent much of his career as a mechanical engineer; this, together with his limited oeuvre, the biting satire of his magnum opus, and his political persuasions--which ranged from an early, ambivalent affiliation with communism to anticommunism as Hungary became a communist dictatorship--kept him ever on the margins of the officially sanctioned literary establishment.
A central figure in Hungary's Esperanto movement for decades, Szathmári published his writings--including, most famously, Voyage to Kazohinia--in his own Esperanto-language editions, ensuring him a measure of international recognition and literary freedom during the communist era. The author lives in Died in 1974.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Wasn't This Translated Before?! Oct. 21 2012
By SusieBookworm (Susanna P) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm still marveling that this novel was off my radar until I happened across a free copy of the book. Classic dystopian literature is one of "my things," and the ones I find most interesting are those from non-English-speaking countries. Still, I was a little wary about reading this, since lately I've been in a slump with older, especially translated, novels. I also highly did not enjoy Gulliver's Travels this past summer (sadface after the genius of Swift's "A Modest Proposal"), and Voyage to Kazohinia is written as Gulliver's 20th-century travels. Well...I can't believe Kazohinia wasn't published in English before, because it really does rival other classics like 1984 and Anthem in terms of its dystopian awesomeness.

Voyage to Kazohinia is divided into two parts. In the first, Gulliver arrives among the Hins. Their world could be considered utopian, but they lack a lot of the things that make us humans happy (and also angsty and unstable). Pointed jab at communism here? Maybe. It's an ideal world in many ways (so what communism just wants to be), but, like Gulliver, most of us wouldn't actually want to live there. Gulliver's navigation of this strange people is hilarious all the way through, so, except for some parts that include way too much explanatory dialogue, it's highly enjoyable.

Gulliver eventually decides to move in with the Behins, otherwise known as the "insane" Hins. Here the story ceases to be hilarious and is really rather sad. Gulliver fails to see what is obvious to the reader, that the beliefs and idiosyncrasies of the Behins mirror those of our own society. Meanwhile, the Behins appear so illogical that I generally felt like (metaphorically) banging my head against the wall. But, there were still some really funny parts, like when feeding women food becomes symbolic of prostitution. Don't ask, just go read the book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Piece of Classic Dystopian Literature Aug. 15 2012
By ScarletDawn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Move over "1984" and "Brave New World", a new work of Dystopian literature has been brought to American readers. I was unsure as to what to expect from Sandor Szathmari's work, and what I found was a very enjoyable story. Szathmari creates a world unlike one we have ever known. Many times as I was reading, the story questioned things I had thought I'd known a lot about. Although the story is set in a world different from our own, connections can be drawn, satirizing our own modern world and what it has become. Overall, a very enjoyable read which I recommend to fans of Dystopian literature and curious readers alike!

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