In the nineteen extraordinary stories that comprise The Devil Is a Black Dog and Other Stories, writer and photojournalist Sándor Jászberényi shows us the human side of war and revolution in the contemporary Middle East and Africa, and of the social upheaval that has held Eastern Europe in its grip since the fall of communism. Characters contemplate the meaning of home, love, despair, family, and friendship against the backdrop of brutality. From Cairo to the Gaza Strip, from Benghazi to Budapest, religious men have their faith challenged, and people under the duress of war or traumatic personal memories deal with the feelings that emerge. Often they seem to suppress these feelings¾but, no, not quite.
Set in countries the author has reported from or lived in, these stories are all told from different perspectives, but always with the individual at the center: the mother, the soldier, the martyr, the religious man, the journalist, and so on. They form a kaleidoscope of miniworlds, of moments, of decisions that together put a face, an emotion, a thought behind humans who confront war and conflict. Although they are fiction, they could have all happened exactly as they are told. Each story leaves a powerful visual image, an unforgettable image you conjure up again and again.
Sándor Jászberényi (Shahn-dor Yahs-ber-ay-ñee) is the author of The Most Beautiful Night of the Soul: More Stories from the Middle East and Beyond (New Europe Books, forthcoming December 2018). In 2017 he received Hungary's Libri Literary Prize. As a correspondent for Hungarian news sites, he has covered the conflict with Islamic State, unrest in Ukraine, the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, and the Gaza War. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Magazine, AGNI, and the Brooklyn Rail. He divides his time between Budapest and Cairo.
"Heady, dizzying writing.... A master class in how to tell a war story." ⎯Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[An] impressive debut collection ... [by] a Hungarian news correspondent who has covered the conflicts in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East." ⎯Publishers Weekly
"In the context of Hungarian literature, Jászberényi is a dangerous heretic, a cosh-wielding ruffian, [his] page[s] ... filled with so much testosterone-fuelled bare-knuckle action.... Whereas Péter Eszterházy, László Krasznahorkai and Péter Nádas write long, intricate sentences full of learned allusions, piling up massive paragraphs, one on top of the other, Jászberényi, like his characters, gets straight to the action."⎯Guardian