“Magnetic Hill”, winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, has been dubbed “the novel of the Hungarian #metoo movement”. This is a complex psychological and social work which raises many questions, ranging from female identity to the responsibility of intellectuals in Hungary today.
During the summer of 1999, a promising young sociologist Enikő Börönd leaves her husband in New York and comes back to her native Budapest intending to write a comprehensive sociological work about the Hungarian ethnic soul from the perspective of marginalized groups. While teaching feminist critique at the university, Enikő comes in contact with many prejudices inherent to scientific milieu in Hungary and soon begins a love affair with Tamás Bogdán, a beloved university professor from a closed provincial community. Bogdán, a first-generation intellectual, deals with his own psychological and social obstacles. His relationship with Enikő, whose class background is completely different, turns into a complex intimate affair marked by professional differences, doubt, jealousy and guilt.
Their story blends into the story of a college student Réka, an insecure young woman who is writing a novel and attracts Bogdán’s attention. Réka hails from Békásmegyer, proletarian settlement with a separate identity. Békásmegyer contains Magnetic Hill which, according to legend, keeps the inhabitants chained to it so they can never leave.
Réka Mán-Várhegyi has written an extraordinary, multi-layered novel about the problems of marginalization – both social and intellectual, about feminism, women’s writing and sexuality, the complexity of female, familial and inter-generational relationships and all hardships women face in hierarchical society dominated by men. “Magnetic Hill” is a novel about the past which defines us ad about the possibility of change.