VS

12.00 лв.

Zsuzsa Rakovszky’s novels center around the fate of a woman.

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Zsuzsa Rakovszky’s novels center around the fate of a woman. In her latest work VS, the protagonist is a countess living at the end of the 19th century named Sarolta Vay. VS utilizes personal, confessional forms such as a diary, recollections, letters and poetry to describe the true story of the transsexual countess, journalist and writer. At one point the narrator, who considers herself/himself Sándor Vay, breaks down and cries, “Well, can I help it that in your world there is no word for what I am?” Sarolta Vay/Sándor Vay, or more simply VS, already stood out as a child for her/his vivid imagination, enthralling intellect, and sensitivity. Surrounded by “the laws of nature and religion,” her/his behavior, which went against social norms, was originally considered the eccentricity of a child that would eventually be outgrown. But that is not what happens, for VS’s masculine identity grows stronger and more permanent with time. VS’s gentry lifestyle reminds the reader of a man, but the occasionally gushy, over-detailed or hysterical confessions remind him of a spoiled countess. VS’s secret is revealed during a criminal investigation launched when VS’s father-in-law reports her/him for unpaid debts. During her/his time spent in jail and through psychological evaluations, VS writes her/his story so that her/his environment can understand that she/he is a “complete person,” and that if people expect her/him to change, society will end up killing her/his soul. Th rough VS’s frank, personal narration of love and marriage, the novel exposes the prudishness and naïveté of the second half of the 19th century. Th e young women whom count VS captivates do not realize during their sexual encounters that they are not actually with a man. Some of them even believe they are with child aft er a stolen kiss beneath a blackberry bush. The girls’ innocence exposes the forcibly created traditions and mores of the past. The great virtue of Zsuzsa Rakovszky’s novel is that the transsexual protagonist is not introduced as simply a victim of the times. VS’s selfi sh, lazy and wasteful life, mistreatment of those who love her/him creates just as much antipathy in the reader as the compassion that arises from seeing how VS tries to keep true to herself/himself in the conservative world that would transform her/him by force if need be. Th e “self-conscious girl” is eventually branded: the offi cial medical report declares her incompetent, but paradoxically, this branding of her/him brings about his/her freedom, since someone declared mentally unfi t can live her/his life as she/he wants.

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