Sooner or later, the mother becomes a brick-colored locomotive, an abandoned pregnant girl gives birth to nine double begonias, the grandmother is home to all kinds of animals and knocking lemurs help pensioners with malicious telephone pranks.
With the directness typical of the genre and a fast-paced narrative style, Ilka Papp-Zakor’s short stories allow us to look at the all too often absurd and disempowering conditions of everyday life in a fantasy world. Within the protected space of reading, they relate how the violent, selfish, naive or sad Eastern European characters must cope in a post-human, semi-virtual world.
Ilka Papp-Zakor’s themes are sadly topical, as in Yuri Gagarin, in which a father rejects his son, who lives abroad, with ideological narrow-mindedness, and takes out his world-weariness and frustration on him in a two-faced, passive-aggressive way. In recent decades, migration from Eastern European countries has reached threatening proportions, and is already causing great tension in both daily and family life in many places.
Ilka Papp-Zakor, born in Cluj-Napoca/Romania in 1989, studied Hungarian and Russian philology at the Babeș Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. A short story writer and translator, she is also is working on her first novel. Her first short story collection, Angel Dinner, won the JAKkendő Award presented by the József Attila Circle in Budapest in 2014. Her most recent publication is the collection of short stories The Last Zoo; the Fate of Cynicism in Central and Eastern Europe (Az utolsó állatkert - A cinizmus sorsa Kelet-Közép-Európában), Kalligram, Budapest 2018.
Ilka Papp-Zakor was a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2018 as part of the Eastern European exchange program.