The Restless Hungarian was published this week. The official pub date was April 16. The date arrived with letters of congratulations from my publisher and publicist, a review in BookTrib under the catchy headline: Son Unpacks Dad’s Secrets and a flurry of breathless book blogger notices. I also got the news that The New York Times has accepted a short essay from me titled: Schizophrenia, My Mother, and Me with a cherished tag line, indentifying me as the author of The Restless Hungarian. Look for it in early May in the Well section of the newspaper. Also the audio book is now also available form Audible and Amazon. I am doing a raffle of 25 free downloads of the audio book. See the post The Audio Book is Now Available for details.
I expected a parade, fireworks, and heavenly choirs to burst forth in song. Oddly, none of this happened. I can’t imagine why. The arrow of my life had been point for so long towards this date I don’t quite know what to do with myself now that it has arrived. But I am doing things. We had a wonderful launch party in Angel’s Camp. Thank you to everyone who came! I’ve got two more launch parties and a bookstore reading lined up. I am going to New York to pitch the book to the Jewish Book Network’s annual convention.
I have applied for an artist’s residency at The MacDowell Colony to edit the film. I am talking with a film producer in Hungary about shooting silent scenes this summer in Budapest… scenes from both my father’s childhood as well as my own that will serve as impressionist tableaux within the documentary film. Requiring actors, period costumes and settings they are shockingly expensive to produce. Every detail must be imagined and evaluated in advance.
I found a story-board artist in Bangladesh who is drawing key frames for some of these scenes. The figures in the frames bear no family resemblance, they are just generic white guys, place holders that indicate action and camera framing.
This one is from a scene when my father was five years old. It is describe on page 21.
He is three years old, lying on a red Persian carpet under the dining table. He is trying hard to decipher the symmetrical patterns in the carpet . . . as if they signify something—something hidden, yet knowable. Three-year-old Pál tries to explain to his mother what he sees in the patterns of the carpet, but he lacks the words.
Here a frame from a scene that is one of my earliest recollections of my father on page 200.
My earliest memories are not of my father’s active physical affection but rather of lying next to him in a grey canvas hammock as he read the newspaper. As the hammock swayed the world tilted gently, and sunlight filtered through pine boughs swaying in the breeze coming off Higgins Pond.
I hope to see you are one of these events in the Bay Area or New York. Click the link to sign up.
Bay Area Book Launch Party, May 4
Bay Area Bookstore Reading, May 16
Brooklyn Book Launch Party, May 23
Warmest regards, Tom