Night School: A Reader for Grownups


by Zsófia Bán

January 15, 2019
stories | pb | 270 pgs.
6" x 9"

“Acerbic, playful, full of quick-witted philosophy, and unstintingly original, this is a varied and unsettling reader for our varied and unsettling times.” 
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"She’s like the kindest of teachers, taking your hand and showing you how ignorant you really are." —Melanie O'Loughlin, Radio New Zealand

Perfect for anyone looking for a little more Nohoo (or “know-how”) in your life, Zsófia Bán’s mock-textbook, Night School: A Reader for Grownups covers all the important subjects, from self-help to geography to chemistry to French, complete with a hearty dose of irony. Bán’s “lectures” tell of the travels of young Flaubert to Egypt with his friend Maxime, and includes a missive from Laika the dog minutes before being blasted off into space, never to be seen again.

A story collection masquerading as an encyclopedia of life, Night School makes our all-too-familiar world appear simultaneously foreign and untamed, and brings together lust, taboos, and the absurd in order to teach us the art of living, all in a wildly clever way.

Translated from the Hungarian by Jim Tucker
Afterword by Péter Nádas


About the Author:

Zsófia Bán grew up in Brazil and Hungary, and is the author of three works of fiction and four essay collections. Winner of numerous prizes for her writing, she is also a former writer-in-residence at the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) program, and is currently a professor of American Studies at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

About the Translator:

Jim Tucker translated works from German, French, and Italian before making the acquaintance of George Konrád, for whom he has since translated some 35 essays from the Hungarian.


“Reading Zsófia Ban is simply good. It’s pleasurable. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of her. . . . her writing can bring a smile to any reader’s face, in any language.”
—Péter Nádas

“Bán . . . marries Rabelaisian scholastic satire with a cerebral lyricism, resulting in a fanciful, if occasionally baffling, curriculum.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Zsófia Bán is both a trespasser of cultural-geographical boundaries and a builder of bridges—between continents, races, genders and languages.”
—Eszter Ureczky

“A must-read for anyone who needs a break from the grim currents of contemporary literature, yet still craves the heady thrill of a really smart book.”
—Mekiya Walters, The Arkansas International

Zsófia Bán fashioned the curious frame of a "night school" to interact her readers on a long list of random subjects. . . rearranging the pieces [of cultural history] in intriguing forms, to the delight of the already learned student."
—Thomas Nolden, World Literature Today