The End


Translated from by

Published: August 22, 2023





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Book Description

“Nothing approximates death as closely as photography.” In a small town in Communist Hungary, András Szabad’s childhood comes to an abrupt end with his father’s return from prison and the death of his loving mother. In search of new beginnings, András moves with his father to Budapest, where he discovers a passion for photography, for uncovering the invisible through the visible, and for fixing matter and memory so as to ward them against the inevitability of time. An unorthodox first encounter brings András together with Éva, and soon they become entangled in a psychosexual relationship of consuming passion, but also of bitterness and resentment. Unspooling like a roll of film, The End captures in frames of language the faces and places of András’ memory, which together form a fever-dream collage of an artist’s psyche. With electric precision and fluid dialogue, Attila Bartis weaves a sprawling family saga with 20th-century European history and offers an unflinchingly lucid yet boundlessly compassionate account of psychological devastation under authoritarianism.

A vivid and highly personal Künstlerroman about damaged lives deeply steeped in struggle, but nevertheless still occasionally shot through with glimmers of joy. Intensely human, painfully honest, and deftly written.
Brian Evenson

This monumental novel is clearly, at least in part, autobiographical . . . Photographs are key to this book as Bartis himself as well as Andras’s father and son are keen photographers . . . A complex and fascinating novel.
The Modern Novel

The strength of this nearly 600-page novel rests on the sometimes uncertain, often funny, well-paced narrative. The short, focused chapters titled in parentheses by a single feature—the punctum in Barthes’ terms—gradually unveil a portrait of a vulnerable, often stubborn, flawed man who is not sure where he stands in the world.
Joseph Schreiber, Rough Ghosts

The book I am currently reading Attila Bartis’s The End, in Judith Sollosy’s translation from the Hungarian. I subscribe to Archipelago Books, and each package of their translated works is a reminder of the sheer breadth of the literary enterprise.
Daniel Handler (in an interview with The Guardian).

Praise for Tranquility

Bartis at times puts one in mind of Joyce, at others of Kafka, at others of Roth, yet ultimately eludes all comparison by the strength of his originality.
Arturo Mantecón, ForeWord

Tranquility is a moving, emotionally complex, subtle, shocking novel.
Tom McGonigle, Los Angeles Times

Oddly beautiful and unsettling, the novel boldly illustrates the lengths people go to in securing their own private hells.
Publishers Weekly

Reading like the bastard child of Thomas Bernhard and Elfriede Jelinek, Tranquility is political and personal suffering distilled perfectly and transformed into dark, viscid beauty. It is among the most haunted, most honest, and most human novels I have ever read.
Brian Evenson

With impressive force of language, Bartis succeeds in laying bare the ambivalences of his characters, their love-hate relationships and self-destructive energies . . . The play that mother and son perform . . . is part Strindberg and part Chekhov, but mostly sheer Beckett or even pure theater of cruelty.
Richard Kämmerlings, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Bartis's synthesizing energy, the way he brings together ancient myths and ‘soc-real’ outrages, archetypal emotions with slick contemporary manipulations, transfigures reason into a waking dream (à la Péter Nádas) or nightmare.
Clara Györgyey, World Literature Today

The End is an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the ongoing cultural importance of Archipelago Books. It’s a fascinating book about photography, family (and the distance within families), and complicated love relationships against the backdrop of Hungary from the 60s till the 90s. Absolutely love the characterization, the starkness of the scenes, and Judith Sollosy’s translation. Just brilliant!
Chad Post

An excerpt in LitHub

An excerpt in Hungarian Literature Online

Anna Gellért’s reading for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development