Obituary: Ivan Mandy

Ivn Mndy, writer: born Budapest 27 December 1918; married 1967 Judit Simon; died 6 October 1995.

Ivan Mandy was one of the most widely read Hungarian writers of the post- 1945 period. His popularity stemmed partly from his subject-matter, which was invariably the life of the inhabitants of the poorer districts in Budapest.

Mandy's stories evoke the atmosphere of a partly submerged world, that of old cafes, dilapidated cinemas, unkempt football stadiums. These are the backdrops to the actions of his marginal characters, sometimes with evocative names or nicknames, who lead haphazard, disorganised, or abandoned, lonely lives. Some of these stories barely have a plot, but Mandy is a master of evocative prose: with only a few words he is able to give the reader a strong "impression" of his characters.

Mandy was born in Budapest in 1918. After the divorce of his parents he stayed with his father, a journalist of Bohemian inclinations, and much of his writing is based on the experiences of these early years. He attended various schools in Budapest but did not complete his secondary education. He made his debut during the Second World War with the novel Csoszhaz ("The Park-Keeper's Hut", 1943), but it was only some years later with Francia kulcs ("Adjustable Spanner") and A huszonegyedik utca ("The Twenty-First Street"), both published in 1948, that he was accepted as a remarkable new voice in Hungarian literature.

In the same year he won the Baumgarten Award. As he was co-editor of the independent and apolitical literary review Ujhold ("New Moon") until its suppression in 1948, in the first years of Communist rule he had difficulty in getting his work published. His situation began to improve in the mid- Fifties when, after years of marginalised existence, he once again got contracts; first he could publish fiction only for young readers, but his novel Fabulya felesegei ("Fabulya's Wives", 1959) showed his real potential. This was a satirical piece on the life of Bohemian and, mainly for political reasons, unemployed intellectuals in the 1950s.

Throughout the 1960s Mandy's popularity grew with collections such as A palya szelen ("By the Touchline", 1963) and Az ordog konyhaja ("The Devil's Kitchen", 1965), which show a certain shift from impressionism towards a kind of nostalgic Surrealism. It was in these years that one could already detect a special "milieu", a hallmark of Mandy's prose. In this "milieu" Mandy evoked scenes which reflected the loneliness and frustration of modern city-dwellers who lead atomised lives not connected with nature or protected by a tight community.

In his collection Mi van Verval? ("And What's Happening to Vera?", 1970), Mandy looks at the way of life of the young, the somehat frustrated "beat" generation of Hungary. In the 1970s he wrote and published much; almost every year a new book of his reached the bookshops.

Mandy wrote a number of film scenarios, as well as plays for the radio, and won many literary awards. Some of his stories were translated into English and appeared in the anthologies Ocean at the Window (1980) and Hungarian Short Stories (1983). In 1992 he was made an Honorary Citizen of Budapest.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker