Nov 18, 2019
The White King
Posted by György Dragomán Paul Olchvary

An international sensation, this startling and heartbreaking debut introduces us to precocious eleven year old Djata, whose life in the totalitarian state he calls home is about to change forever.Djata doesn t know what to make of the two men who lead his father away one day, nor does he understand why his mother bursts into tears when he brings her tulips on her wedding aAn international sensation, this startling and heartbreaking debut introduces us to precocious eleven year old Djata, whose life in the totalitarian state he calls home is about to change forever.Djata doesn t know what to make of the two men who lead his father away one day, nor does he understand why his mother bursts into tears when he brings her tulips on her wedding anniversary He does know that he must learn to fill his father s shoes, even though among his friends he is still a boy fighting with neighborhood bullies, playing soccer on radioactive grass, having inappropriate crushes, sneaking into secret screening rooms, and shooting at stray cats with his gun happy grandfather But the random brutality of Djata s world is tempered by the hilarious absurdity of the situations he finds himself in, by his enduring faith in his father s return, and by moments of unexpected beauty, hope, and kindness Structured as a series of interconnected stories propelled by the energy of Dragom n s riveting prose, the chapters of The White King collectively illuminate the joys and humiliations of growing up, while painting a multifaceted and unforgettable portrait of life in an oppressive state and its human cost And as in the works of Mark Haddon, David Mitchell, and Marjane Satrapi, Djata s child s eye view lends power and immediacy to his story, making us laugh and ache in recognition and reminding us all of our shared humanity.

  • Title: The White King
  • Author: György Dragomán Paul Olchvary
  • ISBN: 9780618945177
  • Page: 136
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The White King An international sensation this startling and heartbreaking debut introduces us to precocious eleven year old Djata whose life in the totalitarian state he calls home is about to change forever Djat


    This book was incredibly painful to read. The author now lives in Hungary, but grew up in Romania in the 1980s. I can't even imagine what that was like - even after reading this book. There were moments of absolute depravity (a gang of kids with bricks in plastic bags) interspersed with moments of pure joy (a construction worker with a roomful of songbirds). I don't know why I finished it. I wanted to stop many times, I couldn't. Beautifully written (even through the translation).


    The stream of consciousness writing didn't add anything to the story, it could have done without it. Also, the characters felt to me like mere sketches without being an intense part of the little stories. Not very touching and sometimes only hints at what life was like in a world like this.


    Ez pontosan olyan, mint minden magyar kortársregény: hatásvadász, patetikus, didaktikus.


    Erős kezdés (a tulipánok érzelmileg is bevésődtek), és erős befejezés (majdnem katarzis). Ami közte van, az viszont egy lavór langyos zavaros víz, amiből a magyar kortárs írók legnagyobb része merít. Tényleg ez lenne a magyar látens tudat, amit kizórólag megjeleníthet napjaink irodalma? Nincs jogom ítélkezni és gyors következtetéseket levonni, mert tény, hogy egyre kevesebbszer adok esélyt kortárs íróinknak (pedig mindig megfogadom az ellenkezőjét). De ennek ok [...]

    Baris Balcioglu

    C'était comme le petit Nicolas mais on peut percevoir ce qui se passait à Roumanie pendant les derniers années du régime communiste. Tous les chapitres sont presque comme indépendants histoires et le dernier est triste même si que les autres sont à la fois drôles et tristes. Ce n'est pas surprenant que ce roman est devenu bestseller.

    Tamás Szajkó

    Nagyon hangulatos, de kicsit több központozás elfért volna.

    Lung Danut-Lucian

    (Pentru cei care locuiesc în Tîrgu Mureș) Acțiunea se petrece în Tudorul Vechi, în zona izvorului de pe Aleea Covasna-str. Moldovei. Bunicul locuiește undeva pe lângă Bulevardul Cetăț


    This novel is comprised of a series of scenes/short stories that encapsulate two years in the life of Djata, an adolescent growing up in a mysterious land based on 1980s Romania. In this totalitarian state, Djata's father is taken from his family and sent to work digging at the Danube for being a traitor to the Party. Djata goes about his business as a young boy, making trouble with his friends, getting into fights and sneaking into forbidden areas. But the spectre of Djata's missing father hang [...]


    The White King, a short novel illuminating two years of preteen narrator Djata's life under an unnamed regime strongly resembling Ceausescu's Romania, is a sort of Lord of the Flies meets Viktor Pelevin. Most of the characters are schoolboys, but their universe is a microcosm of the authoritarian communist world around them, and this adult world spills into and informs every aspect of their lives. Along the way, Djata meets a number of fascinating characters living on the margins of this world i [...]


    György Dragomán nació en Rumanía el 1973, en una familia perteneciente a la minoría húngara establecida en este país. Actualmente vive en Budapest y el 2005 publicó “El rey blanco”, que ganó el premio Sándor Márai y que ha sido traducida a más de veinte idiomas. Más que una novela compacta es un conjunto de relatos cortos que retratan varios episodios de la vida de un niño de once años llamado Djata. Cuando el libro empieza, ya hace algunos meses que la policía secreta ha arr [...]


    I don't even feel like writing a long review on this book, so, some bullet points:- told from the POV of an 11-year-old child, and I really don't like kid's POVs except in rare cases when they are written well- extremely disjointed plot, would have worked better as a short story collection, but considering I didn't really care for anything in the plot, wouldn't have made much of a difference- stream-of-consciousness narrative that added nothing to the plot and made it hard to connect to- I was e [...]


    Este scrisa din perspectiva unui copil, dar si limbajul este corelat. Ceea ce nu e incantator. Dar banuiesc ca povestile continute in aceasta carte mi-au lasat un gust amar si datorita faptului ca au reusit sa-mi trezeasca anumite atitudini pe care vad ca am uitat ca le-am gustat si eu, similar autorului, pe vremea cand prostimea era la putere si libertatea era grav compromisa. Totusi, ceea ce am apreciat la aceasta carte e tocmai ca a reusit sa trezeasca anumite spaime seci si probabil un anumi [...]


    Pretty good. More a collection of stories than a novel, although that may be splitting hairs. A boy growing up in maybe Romania or Hungary in the 1980s. His father has been sent off to a work camp and he learns to live with that uncertainty and his mother’s depression and defiance. All I can say is, I’m glad it wasn’t me, for any number of reasons, but mainly the violence. Teachers, coaches, random adults all seemed to take out their frustration and impotence in the form of violence agains [...]

    Bustya Aron

    Életem első Dragomán György könyve, azonban előre bocsátom azt, hogy nem az utolsó.A könyv legfőbb jellemzőinek a sajátos írásmódot mondanám valamint a könyvet végigkísérő keserédes hangulatot. Igazán magával ragadó történet, a gyerekkori csínytevések, a 11 éves kisfiú töretlen hite az apja viszontlátásában, a szerető feleség aggodalma és küzdelme a gyerekneveléssel valamint a kommunizmus terrorja egyszerre mosolyogtatja és szomorítja az ember szívét. [...]

    Andreas Münzinger

    The white king is not an easy read. The further I progressed, the more I felt for Djata and his mother. They live in a cruel and mostly heartless world, where people need to be cruel to survive. Dragoman's use of the non judgemental first person voice of Djata makes some of the stories even more shocking and left me quite saddened. Life in 1980s Romania communism must truly have been hell, if even half of what Djata experiences in the book is true. The book manages to portray this feeling very w [...]


    Not a book that's easily read in one sitting. Each chapter is a very intense short story unto itself. Excellent stream of consciousness writing. Excellent descriptions and dialogue. What at first seems like a random collection of boy-growing-up stories coalesces into a frighteningly realistic portrait of life in a Soviet country. The violence of the children & the adults as they deal with misinformation, manipulation, and loss of control over their own lives is harrowing.


    Definitely worth a read if you're interested in the vicarious experience of being a Hungarian national in Transylvania in the 80s at the height of the Party's power. It's all from a twelve year old boy's perspective post his father being taken away to a reeducation camp.


    Dificil de citit, dificil de terminat, dar îţi atinge sufletul. Imaginea piureului de (cred) castane ca tunel, genială.

    Tadzio Koelb

    From my review in The Guardian:Djata is 11 years old. His father has been taken to a forced-labour camp, his headmaster promises to impale any student who disobeys, and the school football coach beats his team bloody. Through a series of short, often brutal, episodes, The White King builds a relentlessly terrifying portrait of childhood in Ceausescu’s Romania, a society destroyed by poverty and repression, where even the most innocent encounter threatens violent consequences.Somewhere between [...]


    Történelemtudásom őrült hiányosságait és a kiskamaszok életéről való viszonylagos tudatlanságomat jellemzi, hogy nem tudom megítélni, hol ér véget a realitás a történetben és hol kezdődik a valóságon túli terület. És talán ez az előzetes ismeretek nélküli tettenérhetetlenség egyben a minőség fokmérője is lehet. Mindenesetre szokatlanul sötét és kegyetlen világot fest a regény, még a szokásos kortársmagyar túlfűtött gyilkolászáshoz képest is. Nem [...]


    Romania, Erdely es a komunizmus egy gyerek nezopontjabol.

    Kriszta Klebercz

    Nem rossz, nem rossz, de a Máglya nekem jobban tetszett.

    Nóra Blaskovits

    I was in a pretty big dilemma about how to rate this book. I had read such great things about György Dragomán before, and this was my first book from him, so obviously I had pretty high hopes. Then I started reading and disappointment came kind of like a shock: for the first half of the book it was as if someone just listed the most humiliating things that ever happened in his life. And the whole thing seems to be without a point, just wailing in this misery that never seem to end. This unfort [...]

    Zoltán Kelemen

    I've started reading this book on a long trip home, as it was one of the few books from an author from my area to be translated into several languages and wanted to read it, before making it a gift to someone else. The trip was long enough, the book good and short enough for me to finish in more or less one go and I was happy with the choice - I can happily give this book as a gift.Of course I have no idea how the book will transpire to those alien to our upbringing and childhood environment. Al [...]


    Un garçon de onze ans voit son père partir, encadré par des étrangers. Nous sommes en Roumanie, au milieu des années quatre-vingt, et très vite il devient évident que le père du narrateur a été déporté en tant qu'opposant au régime. Les jours passent, sans la moindre nouvelle de lui. En attendant, le garçon s'occupe tendrement de sa mère qui ne lui dit rien, et il essaie de remplacer son père. Mais, il subit aussi les vexations de ceux qui savent et doit faire face à un jeu perv [...]


    يحكى الصبى ما يتذكره و ما جرى فى غضون سنتين هى الفترة بين لقاء مع والده قبيل اعتقاله و لقاءهم الجنائزى الماساوى الاخيرتدور الاحداث فى احد البلدان حيث القوة التسلطية لدول الحزب الواحد و الرفيق الاعظم ومن خلال مغامرات الصبى و قصصه التى تشبعت بطفولته و عبثه و سخطه فى غير تكلف ول [...]


    Először is, szerintem ez nem regény. Az egy dolog, hogy ugyanaz végig a narrátor, vannak benne visszatérő szereplők, hivatkozások korábbi eseményekre, és van egy egész könyvön átívelő téma; mindemellett A fehér király sokkal inkább nevezhető mondjuk novellaciklusnak, ahol az egyes epizódok külön-külön is élvezhetőek, a többi közül kiragadva. Másodszor, rájöttem, hogy bármennyire is kedvelem a modern dolgokat, bizonyos kérdésekben igencsak régimódi vagyok, [...]


    I can not decide how I feel about this book. The storytelling was unusual and real at the same time, using the point of view of an 11 year old boy exactly as it should be used, with long sentences, occasional interruptions, and rambling explanations for things. The way the book was written alone had me glued to the pages from cover to cover, the writing style was exceptionally attractive and well molded to the setting.As far as the plot goes, it was very interesting to watch a child grow up in a [...]

    Michael Klein

    I enjoyed this collection of short stories that have been loosely bound into a novel. The depictions of communist era Romania are both heart-breaking and hysterical at the same time. The way the people, and particularly kids cope with an oppresive regime full of reeducation camps and secret police is interesting.Some very interesting curses too - inspirational even, perhaps I'll even try to work some of them into my daily life.I also always thought gymnastics was the national sport of Romania. A [...]


    Due to life interruptions it took me a long time to read this book, which often disrupts the flow of a novel. But luckily Dragoman uses an interesting form where each chapter is a self-contained event - almost like a short story. They build to a whole, and sometimes even recap a tiny bit as if to suggest the reader hasn't read all of them. This was quirky but effective.It's not the kind of setting I would usually choose to read about - but seen through the eyes of a child it took on greater colo [...]

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      Posted by:György Dragomán Paul Olchvary
      Published :2019-08-11T14:04:26+00:00