Saturday, October 03, 2009

Review: Another Love by Erzsebet Galgoczi

Another Love
By Erzsebet Galgoczi

Published by Cleis Press

Reviewed by Paul Kane

The most important character in this novel, Eva Szalanczky, is killed off in its very first pages, shot while attempting to cross the Hungarian border. Yet the crucial question of what motivated Eva’s act, whether it was a genuine effort to escape to the West or at root desperation, a reckless gesture that was tantamount to suicide, is what consumes the bulk of the book.

Janos Maros is the army officer who identifies Eva’s body. An old childhood friend, he is driven to investigate her life – to traces its pattern, to somehow get inside her head. Maros is made aware of the overt political stance that she took as a journalist; this in 1959, some three years after the Soviet Union quashed the popular uprising (revolution, counter-revolution, call it what you will). He learns about Eva’s life as a lesbian and skirts around the periphery of a gay subculture of secrecy and clandestine liaisons, with a fair incidence of blackmail and the occasional murder. Inevitably, perhaps, Maros’ unofficial investigation encounters resistance from the state security service, as it spirals out to encompass the repressive political climate that was Hungary in the 1950s. Ultimately, Maros is forced to confront his own life and the choices and compromises – both personal and political - that he has made.

Erzsebet Galgoczi

Another Love has something of the flavour and atmosphere of Josef Skvorecky’s Lieutenant Boruvka novels, but with an excoriating political edge. Here, though, the mystery is not ‘Who done it?’, but ‘Why?’ What is it that impels Eva headlong toward what she believes is right, impervious to danger, armed with simply a wayward notion of truth?

The novel was filmed as Another Way in 1982, directed by Károly Makk, with the Polish actress Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieslak in the lead. By most accounts, the film too is worth seeking out.

Paul Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. Hewelcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at



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