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No Stopping Train is the magnum opus and final novel of the late writer Les Plesko, a powerful, swirling novel of memory and violence set during the Hungarian Revolution.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt following World War II that spread quickly across the destabilizing country. A new government pledged to re-establish free elections until a large Soviet force invaded, killing more than 2500 Hungarians and forcing 200,000 Hungarians to flee the country. Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months until a new Soviet-installed government suppressed all opposition. Public discussion of this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for more than thirty years.
Although the revolution failed, it served as a source of great inspiration to many Hungarians, and here Les Plesko taps into his country’s history as the dramatic backdrop to his most accomplished and powerful novel. Sandor and Margit are young lovers suffering with their nation through the degradations of war, hunger, and political oppression in Budapest. Into their lives comes the mercurial Erzsebet ravaged, war-torn, alluring. Their eventual love triangle upends an already tenuous existence and threatens what little safety they have found in a nation on the brink of revolution. When Sandor’s activities as an underground publisher are exposed in a vicious act of betrayal, the lives of each of our characters will never be the same.
No Stopping Train is a stylistic tour de force and the final work of Les Plesko.
Les Plesko (1954-2013) is the author of the critically-acclaimed debut novel The Last Bongo Sunset, which was translated into Dutch and German. His other novels include Who I Was and Slow Lie Detector and his stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Pear Noir!, Columbia Review and The Newer York. He was the recipient of the UCLA Extension Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing where he taught for close to twenty years. Please visit pleskoism.wordpress.com to view the memories posted by friends and students as well as speeches from his memorial gathering at Beyond Baroque.