The town in black
Kálmán Mikszáth (1847-1910), generally held to be the leading Hungarian novelist of the late 19th-century, is still widely read today. Writer, journalist, and politician, he was a master story teller with a sound psychological insight and a taste for irony, which he applied to his beautifully crafted stories and novels. His main achievement was the portrayal of the decaying gentry whose tenuous grip on power he treated with a mixture of sharp-witted satire, amazement, often compassion. The Town in Black, his last novel published after his death in 1911, lays before the reader a world split into the village gentry and the town bourgeoisie, the former possessing rank but lacking money, the latter in possession of money, but lacking rank. A heady mix of unforgettable characters, social criticism and politics intricately interwoven with a love story, The Town in Black makes for enjoyable and entertaining reading.