István Örkény: One Minute Stories

Hollóka Grafikai Műhely / Graphic Design Studio

Budapest, Magyarország

István Örkény was the creator of Hungarian grotesque prose. He was highly impressed by the writings of Franz Kafka, among others. His omnibus volume „One Minute Stories” was published in 1967 and was a novelty in world literary history due to its concise, grotesque and philosophical style. The short stories included, present ordinary things in a dramatic approximation. Many times they have no conclusion, only one thought-provoking question remains at the end. Örkény formulates absurd, mismatched things in the same context, resulting in a morbid effect.

At the beginning of the cover design process, I chose a short story that represents most Örkény’s grotesque and realistic perspective. In the illustration, we can see the highlight of this novel, when the rat thinks of how wonderful it would be being the little girl with the wooden legs he scared in the cellar. The clear style of the drawing gives the volume a modern look while the texture of the light coming through the opening door, the strict composition and the light-dark contrast visualize the atmosphere of the genre.

The illustration runs through the back panel, where we can find Örkény’s humorous and honest reading instructions. With the thoughts of the Kossuth Prize-winning Hungarian playwright Péter Nádas, we find a dedication on the back flap. The text on the front flap catches the key moment of the illustrated short story. The layout of the book block and the visuals of the cover provide a new kind of experience, making it more inclusive among students.