After being Budapest’s guerrilla statue pioneer, Mihajlo Kolodko has been embraced by local authorities as well, and several of his tiny statues have recently popped up around town with ‘official’ blessings. A special, and not so tiny, statue is the 14-carat roadster (a gilded Alfa Romeo) that has made its appearance, quite naturally, next to Rejtő Jenő street. Rejtő, occasionally writing under the pseudonym P.Howard, used to live on the street. He was extremely prolific in many genres but is best known and most loved for a cult series of intentionally over-the-top pulps, peppered with memorable characters, absurd plot twists and dry humour. Of Jewish descent, Rejtő died in 1943 doing labour service on the Eastern front, and while his works were unavailable in the first years of Communist rule, they became increasingly popular from the ’60s onwards.
Most Hungarians will be familiar with Rejtő’s characters or catchphrases, such as calling a blonde with a feisty personality a ‘szőke cicklon’ (blonde hurricane), sometimes even without necessarily having read the books. The 14-carat roadster created by Kolodko is inspired by the novel of the same name, depicting the mind-bending adventures of a gentleman of Russian origin in the French foreign legion, including winning the physics Nobel prize at a game of cards. Compact and entertaining, Rejtő’s books can be perfect reads during a Budapest holiday- for those understandably still at odds with the Hungarian language, Bestsellers bookstore has some of his novels in English and French translations as well.