My father taught me to read when I was four, and I never stopped. But reading, to me, promptly suggested emulation: writing verse, mostly love poems to older women. At six, I wrote them to Gabriela, the pretty, fourteen-year-old upstairs neighbor, who paid scant attention to them or their author. My father was Hungarian; my mother, a member of Yugoslavia’s Hungarian minority. We lived in Belgrade, the capital of both Serbia and Yugoslavia, and I was a fiery Yugoslav patriot. This despite the fact that my parents had me learn German as my first language from a German nanny, so as to start me out along cosmopolitan lines; that my second language was Hungarian, which they spoke around the house; that Serbo-Croatian was only my third, picked up from the other kids in the street.

So much to set the scene for my boyhood reading. Sad to say, though, I can’t remember my very first reading at all. My father loved books, and...


A Message from the Editors

As a reader of our efforts, you have stood with us on the front lines in the battle for culture. Learn how your support contributes to our continued defense of truth.

Popular Right Now