There’s been that noticeable Nomad silence lately, and for my part I can pin it on a variety of things: reading papers emailed in by my diligent Leipzig students, traveling to London to meet with the wonderful crew at Corvus (my new UK publisher), dealing with the dirty details of buying and starting renovation on a Budapest apartment, and trying to squeeze in a minute or two of writing time. However, I suddenly realized (it’s 2 in the morning here) that today had been a momentous, bloggable day.
First, you have to know that I’ve lived here in Hungary since 2002. It’s been good, and part of the pleasure—part of my personal experience of expat life—has been the anonymity of living where I’m not published, and thus not “known.” However, today, as I was shopping with the family, preoccupied by a hundred little disturbances, I happened to spot this in a bookstore window:
I poked at my wife. “Hey…look at that.” She did a double-take. We entered, our daughter trying to drag us to the children’s section, but we held her back until we’d gotten a bookseller to show us the stack (there were 3 in the store). We played with the covers, and my wife complained to the staff that the dedication (“For Margo”) wasn’t in it. They didn’t seem to care. Yet somehow, for both my wife and me, the weight of our daily life lightened momentarily. My wife pointed out that I was no longer anonymous in Hungary, and, gesturing at the booksellers backing away, I told her I suspected I still was.
But before we left, one of them came up to us holding Stieg Larsson’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. She proceeded to tell me that my book was as good as that one.
“Oh,” I said. “Köszönöm.” (Thank you.)
No, nothing really has changed yet, but it’s weird to think that for the first time in my life (and now seven novels in), I’m actually living in a country where I’m published.
Weird, and kind of nice.