War real in stories: The Devil is a Black Dog

War real in stories: The Devil is a Black Dog

HUNGARIAN photo-journalist Sandor Jaszberenyi has lived a number of lifetimes in his book The Devil is a Black Dog.

While classed as fiction, this book of short stories relies heavily on his life experiences in war zones from Gaza to Sudan and Syria.

He has worked in Egypt, Libya, Darfur and the Ukraine and covered much of the rise of Islamic State.

His writing is sparse, tight, acute and powerful and Matt Henderson- Ellis has translated the book with finesse into English from Hungarian.

These contemporary war stories are a window to the ever-changing surfaces of war the fourth estate finds itself in, from the war correspondents who never leave the comfort of the hotel – those he writes are “helicopter journalists” – to those on the front line risking life and limb.

Jaszberenyi writes about the sons and mothers, the martyrs, soldiers and his fellow journalists along with new friends he meets at border crossings and the humanity behind each and every event.

His themes highlight life, loss, home and hearth and love.

The former editor of the Egypt Independent had this to say about Jaszberenyi’s book: “One of the most honest books I have ever read. The author forgoes the journalistic altruism and moral obligation that books on reporting in crisis regions typically disingenuously emphasise”.

The book iwill be released on November 2 and the film rights have already been optioned.

There are 19 short stories in the work which expose the gritty underbelly of revolution and war in the contemporary Middle East and Africa.

Jaszberenyi’s characters contemplate the meaning of home, love, despair, family and friendship against brutal backgrounds.

Each story is a nugget of raw emotion, as powerful as the unforgettable images he has taken in the war zones he has covered.

Jaszberenyi is a wonderful storyteller in the mould of those who live life to the fullest every day, who see it all and nothing can shock them.

His stoic cynicism helps him to survive in settings where lesser people have failed to do so, yet his writing has a lyrical and evocative sense of beauty too.

Not quite a polyglot, Jaszberenyi speaks Arabic, English and Hungarian, always immersing himself in the society in which he reports.

Published by Scribe Publications, and available at book stores for $24.99, The Devil is a Black Dog will appeal to all who love combat stories and anyone who aspires to cover or photograph war zones and trouble spots the world over.