The Sinistra Zone


Ádám Bodor
translated by Paul Olchváry

Lyrical, surreal, and yet unsettlingly realistic, The Sinistra Zone swims in the totalitarian backwaters of Eastern Europe

Entering a weird, remote hamlet, Andrei calls himself “a simple wayfarer,” but he is in fact highly compromised: he has no identity papers. Taken under the wing of the military zone’s commander, Andrei is first assigned to guard the blueberries that supply a nearby bear reserve. He is surrounded by human wrecks, supernatural umbrellas, birds carrying plagues, albino twins.

The bears — and an affair with a married woman — occupy Andrei until his protector is replaced by a new female commander, “a slender creature, quiet, diaphanous, like a dragonfly,” and yet an iron-fisted harridan. As things grow ever more alarming, Andrei becomes a “corpse watchman,” standing guard over the dead to check for any signs of life, and then …

More Praise…

“Linking intense realism with boundless imagination, this fascinating novel could have been written by Gabriel García Márquez. ”

Die Zeit

The Sinistra Zone is a small masterpiece of stunning beauty that begs to be savored slowly. ”

La Vanguardia

“ If there’s a magic realism Eastern-bloc style, The Sinistra Zone is surely its paradigm.”

— Alison McCulloch, The New York Times Book Review

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