Our-street-tar at the Quarterly Conversation:

Tar’s real strength lies in his ability to reveal the general human condition through the articulation of the particular. Far from the dry and descriptive nature of the well-known East European genre of sociography, he creates an interconnected world that is not only living and breathing but also sensibly suffering and rotting away. The authenticity of this world rests on his intimate knowledge of the materiality of the place—fictive as it is—and the everyday rituals and customs of a disintegrating community, the web of meanings that guide and constrain the lives of the characters. Yet, like other masters of the short story, from Hemingway to Raymond Carver, Tar skillfully uses the method of understatement. His minimalistic texts offer just the right amount of revelatory, iconic details, hinting at the existence of an entire submerged world: a wasted life, a grotesque fate, a checkered past, a hidden pain through fragments. As the critic Lajos Jánossy observed, Tar “depicts his world with such a dramatic asceticism, and he is capable of creating such dreary tension, that it makes him unique in contemporary Hungarian prose. The mystery is in how he manages to transubstantiate this naturalistic raw material into high quality literature. Tar possesses those unique traits of literary sensitivity, empathy, and solidarity, which enable him to hold up to us the elemental drama of these situations through reduction.” Strange as it sounds, the reference to mystery is justified when encountering the subtleness of Our Street, since the devil of its prose truly hides in the details.

Tar’s economical style inhabits the intersecting, ambiguous realms of sharp realism, cyclical absurd, and genuine comedy. His protagonists are characterized by a sense of intertwined ridiculousness and tragedy that marked the fates of Charles and Emma Bovary. This protracted ambivalence both draws readers in through empathy and detaches them through humor.

more here.