It’s funny how one’s opinion is influenced by new information. I was halfway through reading Viktória Lugosi‘s “Dafke”, when I chatted with a friend of mine who knows the author personally and doesn’t have a high opinion of her. This little tidbit of perspective changed the way I was reading the book. I know that it shouldn’t have, after all I don’t know the whole story or the author herself, and I should try to judge by the book purely on its content and context.
The main reason I wanted to read the book, because I liked so much Lugosi’s first novel, “Ajve.” That combined the charm of a young girl’s vantage point, with a personal history that could have been mine and did all of this with keen sense of observation. I was hoping for something similar from her second book and mostly got it, but this time was much less interesting and charming. Maybe it was the topic: artificial insemination that didn’t talk to me personally. Reading the book I thanked God lots of times that our daughter was conceived and delivered without any (major) problems. We were blessed, unlike the couple in the book who goes through the pain of the discovery that they cannot have child without medical help and then go for six rounds of the procedure of artificial insemination.
The voice of the first person narrator, the would-be mom, just seemed even less authentic after I talked to my friend. The parts which were similar to Ajve’s are still the best in my opinion. I recognized the behavior and verbal patterns, the guilt trips, the unspoken social norms the author shared as the family’s background. The games family members played with each other sounded real. The inner analysis of what was going on in the desperate protagonist wasn’t. Maybe my capacity for empathy was limited in this case, but maybe the author didn’t manage to make me belief that these inner processes were real.
Nevertheless I am happy I read this short book, as I learned about the potential mindset and the medical details what is involved for a family having to go through artificial insemination. I was also reminded some of the conversation and powerplays my own family used to play. I have new ones now, but it’s good to remember what was once.