Humor Magazine

Miklós Who? Miklós Bánffy!

By Davidduff

For several years now there has been a running gag on this blog - no, not me, another one! - concerning my pile of waiting-to-be-read books which is now so high that it is in danger of blocking out the light from the windows.  Today I have another pathetic vice to divulge which will provide further snigger-fodder for you all - my pile of unfinished books!  Well, actually, I don't feel particularly ashamed of that because I blame the authors for not writing well enough to keep me going - even if my attention span can only be measured by a micrometer.  But there is one amongst these unfinished books of which I am not just truly ashamed but actually exceedingly irritated with myself.

Some time ago, Matthew Norman, by and large a shrewd judge, in one of his columns raved - raved, I tell you! - about the novels of Miklós Bánffy - and, no, neither had I!  Trusting his judgment I ordered up the first of Bánffy's Hungarion trilogy entitled They Were Counted.  I have it before me now and to my shame and irritation it still has my bookmark in it between pages 488/9 out of 596 pages - so, dammit, I was almost there but then I stopped.  Now, I can't remember why I stopped.  It certainly wasn't because I wasn't enjoying it so I can only think that something, a holiday or whatever, interrupted me and because the novel is so rich in characters and plots perhaps I was daunted at the thought of trying to pick up all the threads.  Anyway, I decided that rather than trying to sort out the remainder of the story I would just leave it for two or three years and start again by which time I will have forgotten everything.  I deliberately left it in a spot where it would catch my eye regularly to jog what passes for my, er, oh, you know - (snaps fingers) - of course - my memory!

So there it has lain until today when those nice people at Amazon sent me an e-mail telling me that the last two books of the trilogy, They Were Found Wanting and They Were Divided, both in one volume, were to be issued on 31st of May.  Oh dear, I feel this is 'the fickle finger of fate' pointing at me!  I will have to buy them and that means I will have start the first one all over again.  I'm keen to do so but it means I won't have time to read anything else for months!


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