Magic Realism in the Prose of Jozef Puškáš

  • James D. Naughton
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


A characteristic combination of quasi-documentary realism with elements of strange fictional expressivity is apparent in Puškáš’s novels and short stories. In the novel Štvrtý rozmer the ‘fourth dimension’ of the title already indicates the presence of ‘something else’. The term has many layers of significance: it is the time-space theme of the physics lectures given by the central character Rotarides; it is the extra space the family desires, the extra something life requires over and above the satisfaction of material needs; it is the author standing outside his own book, the dimension of the author-creator (or indeed the reader-decoder), and the novel ends with the latter aspect in the foreground. The narrative displays odd symmetries, unlikely chances, and superimpositions of different themes offering various levels of interpretation. For example, the wife states (in a text written by herself) that she once received the same banknote twice:

In payment I received a marked hundred-crown note, someone had drawn a tiny little heart on it with a ballpoint pen, I almost thought it was the accounts clerk VereŠ declaring his love for me in this way. … I paid with the note for something in a shop, but shortly afterwards the same marked banknote came back to me, when a certain man paid me my fee for copy-typing! It’s true I didn’t jot down the number of the bank-note, but I don’t believe anyone would amuse himself by drawing hearts on every hundred-crown note that came his way. I decided that money was always the same, however hard you try, each time you find only what you just threw out. You throwaway someting in front of you and immediately you pick it up, throw it away again and pick it up — like in a madhouse. Things have no meaning in themselves, until you perceive them for something else. … (p. 164).


Short Story Housing Estate Sacred Tree School Garden Ginkgo Tree 
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  1. 2.
    Alexander Halvoník and Vincent Šabík give contrasting interpretations of the subtitle in a discussion on Puškáš in Romboid, xxi (1986), pp. 17 and 23.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Ivan Sulík’s interpretation in an article on Puškáš in Romboid, xx (1985), pp. 14–17Google Scholar

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© School of Slavonic and East European Studies 1990

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  • James D. Naughton

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