Like stars in the sky, pixels may seem like tiny, individual points. But, when viewed from a distance, they can create elaborate images. Each pixel contributes to this array, but no individual point can create the whole. The thirty stories that comprise Krisztina Tóth’s book similarly produce an interconnected web. While each tale of love, loss, and failed self-determination narrates the sensuousness of an individual’s life, together, the thirty stories tell a more complicated tale of relationships. Circumstances that appear unrelated may converge in harmony or in heartbreak, just as the events that loom largest may fail to produce a longed-for outcome. These threads often determine the course of lives in unpredictable ways—sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, but rarely in the ways we originally anticipated.
‘Each chapter is named after a human body part. Together they form a body of stories about marginalized people across several decades and across the whole of Europe. Each story is sharp, fresh and original. The intricate architecture of the novel reveals its treasures slowly but sensitively. Its grand designs are matched totally by the exquisite writing from Hungary’s famous poet.’—Rosie Goldsmith, chair of judges at EBRD Literature Prize 2020
‘Addresses the crises facing Europe today: the influx of immigrants and resulting xenophobia, mounting anti-Semitism and anti-Roma bigotry, the validity of the European Union versus nation-specific loyalties [. . .] Even as Tóth slices her characters into single limbs and facial features, there’s no escaping their interconnectedness. In this way, Tóth makes the concept of a national “border” seem laughably arbitrary.’—LitHub [Read the full review]
‘Krisztina Tóth is undoubtedly a consummate short story writer. She has been published and translated many times, and Pixel is her first to be published in English. It contains all the elements that one might expect in such a volume: vignettes of human life, in all its humour, pathos and pain; the pages populated by characters of every age and class – from post-war survivors of the holocaust and of the communist regime, like good friends Cosmina and Gavriela, to edgy young city dwellers, riding the Budapest trams, like the wretched glue-sniffer who staggers on board, injured and high as a kite, in The Stomach's Story. Budapest itself is a focal location in the stories—but Tóth's reach is much wider than just one country. As well as travelling through time, we travel across borders, to Paris, to Dortmund, to Romania and back. This is a truly European collection.’ —Hungarian Literature Online [Read the full review]
Listen to a podcast in which Krisztina Tóth discusses the complex structure of Pixel with the translator Owen Good.
Translator Owen Good writes about his experience of translating Pixel.
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