The page of Kopcsay, Márius, English Reception
ReceptionMárius Kopcsay: Zbytočný život (Useless Life), Levice, LCA Publishers Group, 2006
It started with An Important Day, then came The Lost Years, and finally (for now) it all ended up with the Useless Life. In exactly ten narratives the author confronts the memories as well as his contemporary problems. Despite some poctic license that allows for fantasy, Kopcsay's protagonist walks in and out of the stories without a significant change of identity; he truly is alive, a being composed of flesh and blood, and not an artificial construction. The reader is ready to believe, thanks to the subtle hints, that all the experience was derived form the author’s life, especially a reader in his forties and one trying to live like a good citizen and parent who has to make his living honestly. Kopcsay’s Useless Life is more than the stories offered here. It is about the feeling of life that is forced on the protagonist, where everything conspires to tell him he is useless.
Already the introductory story, “Coal Holidays” suggests an atmosphere of uselessness. As the Pupil, with a capital “P,” does not go to school, as there is no coal to heat it, he is bored and tries to fill his time by daydreaming about flying. This is how he can overcome the feeling of emptiness. The inner world becomes more important than the real world. The story “Visual Perception” is the story of the week. People just bum around and like pawns make a step forward, only to make one back the next day and some other day a step aside to the left or to the right. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months and years and an entire life. The author takes a critical look at the present situation. His mood could be characterized as being in a state of permanent anger. However, he does not only lash out, but ridicules himself, adopting an ironic manner, dealing with the world he lives in ironically. The story “Stink,” is only a brief comical sketch, a hyphen among the other texts. In the ”Complex colourful Story,” the author continues to compare: the manifold story of an erotic strawberry that the Writer only dreamed about produces a sharp dissonance with the reality of his life. His inability to develop the flirt and take off from his wife and child for adventures as a bulldozer of female hearts shows up in the story “Love.” And so the unfinished dreams remain unfinished only by suggestion: their unfinished quality of the narrative is their conclusion. “The Climax (An Unfinished Composition),” takes the reader back to the protagonist’s childhood. This time, the main narrator and character is called Oliver. He describes the vacations, the excitement of time with his relatives, the reactions of his mother, but also his own loneliness while undergoing his treatment of an allergy. The climax here is his dream about being a train engineer free to travel wherever he wants, just to escape the reality of the divorce of his parents. In the “Saviour,” Kopcsay makes an absurd joke with the help of aliens for whom our planet is too stupid and vulgar. The following story, “The Young Lady behind the Counter,” is a variation on the erotic embarrassments. Satirical thorn is sharpened here on the narrator with a significant name Paľo Kriak-Tŕnistý (the hyphenated last name meaning “thorny bush”). The story “Moving Out,” talks about the search for an escape from a depressing fate, this time in alcohol. The moving of the family, new employment, inability to perform in an extramarital affair are only a few motives for the narrator’s ambition to become an alcoholic. The conclusion of the collection is a story from the future, “Vacations in Orbit.” In a form of diary retrospective, the son returns to the years of his father’s hopelessness, sadness, and embarrassment. Some consolation comes from the knowledge that even the son, though he never lets anyone know, experiences similar disappointments as he did once before. The feeling of desolation, failure, the running in the circle, of vanity, is the feeling that is experienced by the present generation as well as the former and obviously will be recognized by the future ones, too.
Kopcsay talks about ordinary people and things, he does not invent experiences, he lets the action flow in a linear fragmentary chain, only here and there interrupted by the memories of the past and the attempt of searching for the roots of the exceptional. In this sense, Kopcsay’s texts remind one of therapeutic search for the roots of the dependence (on the loss of hope). They talk about the everyday life in an extraordinary manner. (Ľuboš Svetoň)