Fogarassy began her writing career with the mixed blessing of finding joy of self-expression and frustration in outside reality. That was back in the day when the only road to publication was through editorial boards and publisher catalog needs. Her rocky path on the trail of print led to tenacity and a firm command of her written material.
Old-fashioned file cabinets in the Fogarassy office are jammed with paper copies of stories, articles and encouraging rejections gleaned from piles of form rejections by periodicals long extinct. Once short work was regularly accepted and she recovered from a first novel rejected by an agent on the grounds that it had no merit, she wrote others and found a publisher for a disastrous first novel experience.
Mix Bender is a happy romp on a Caribbean Island by the title character on a sojourn from New York life and family obligations in the American Midwest. Mix meets colorful characters who highlight aspects of his life as a Hungarian-American. He also finds love with a real woman who shows him the poverty of his back home romance with an air-headed social climber spouting positive thinking aphorisms.
Publication of that first novel taught Fogarassy the value of intellectual property and its protection. The long-awaited first book was on press when the small publisher ran out of money and went incommunicado. Rights to the book belonged to the publisher. Months of legal wrangling passed before the printers agreed to finish the work and issue the book.
Other novels went through countless near-misses as agents, editors, ,budding e-publishers and conventional publishers considered her works. The times they were a’changing, as Nobel laureate Bob Dylan put it The old boys’ network of handshake deals was dying out. Publisher demands were becoming more targeted. Deal-making become more risky. In the midst of those changes, several of Fogarassy’s manuscripts were under consideration when the opportunity for a UN assignment in Somalia proved too intriguing to pass up.
Mission Improbable: The World Community on a UN Compound in Somalia is an account of cultural shocks inherent in traveling between developed and developing worlds. As a New Yorker transported on behalf of the United Nations to serve as Editor-in-Chief of a Weekly newsletter aimed at the local Somalis, the UN international staff, UN Headquarters and Embassies around the world, Fogarassy developed a good sense for how people were the same and how they differed based on cultural heritage and transportation to a new locale.
The UN Compound in Somalia was the size of a US college campus and it was home to civilians and military from countries as diverse as Ireland, the US, Canada, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Russia. Somalis served local functions in both the UN Compound and the adjacent US Embassy.
By the time Fogarassy arrived as a creative writer to promote the formation of a government for the country in anarchy, The US had given up on Somalia after the downing of a Black Hawk helicopter and the desecration of UN soldiers in retaliation for the US bombing of Somali Elders meeting to discuss conciliation of clans with an eye toward the establishment of a government under the massive international infusion of attention and help.
Mission Improbable is a heartbreaking and yet heartening account of how the world can improve through cooperation between powers great and small. While on a grand mission to create a government for a country in anarchy that had earned a bad reputation through international bungling, Fogarassy met equals from all nations.
As part of the Weekly assignment, Fogarassy supervised the Somali printers producing the daily Maanta newspaper aimed at the local population. Maanta stories came into the Compound through local covert operatives originally hired by the US. Whatever the tribal affiliations of locals hired as printers by the UN, the security of jobs went a long way to smoothing the path of problem solving. The male Somali printers were the ones to resolve the dilemma of a woman UN worker being their boss. They called her Mr. Helen and the dilemma was resolved.
As Mission Improbable recounts, cultural shock runs in both directions. Fogarassy returned from a bare-bones existence on an enclosed compound to a glutted Macy’s department store. Decompression is as important for radical cultural shifts as it is for space exploration. A major fact in both is the communication of the experience to those who haven’t lived it.
In the modern world where the Western world predominates while other powers arise, a fundamental gap in experience divides Europe and the United States. Much of young America is derived from its older European ancestors, but its vitality lacks the grounding depth that Europe has developed over centuries of conflict. Fogarassy’s next published work bridged that gap.
The Light of a Destiny Dark is a novel based on memoir written by the author’s Mother once the family relocated to the United States after escaping Communism during the heroic 1956 uprising against Soviet domination of the country. The memoir was entitled “Behind God’s Back,” which reflected the desolation felt by much of Eastern Europe after the Second World War.
America knows about Hitler and the Holocaust. It know how the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the country into fighting for democracy against the genocidal supremacist Hitler. America recovered from the great global battle fought on foreign soil. Busy with its own recovery, America lent a hand to those devastated by the war, except for the part of Europe ceded by treaties to the Soviet sector.
The Berlin Wall was the concrete symbol of the Iron Curtain that fell over eastern Europe after the war under the Soviet Russians. That’s how British Winston Churchill described the development..
Light of a Destiny Dark is an emotionally engrossing novel of that dark period in European history. Its dark chapters of reality during that time are leavened by scenes of the heroine’s happier life in the safety of the US many years later.
In the novel, Hungarian-American Julia is engaged to Arnie, and American WWII veteran. As a mature couple, their relationship involves much of the past in their individual lives. The contrasts bring to light the relative hardships of the American depression and the European War years. They also highlight differences in emotional depth and levels of family attachments resulting from tragic losses.
While the novel lightens the heaviness of the memoir based on actual events, it was still considered too grim for the American readership. Even watered down for publication, the work was summed up by one reader as unrelentingly bleak. Another reader thought that the war scenes were invented and teh happy scenes were the substance of the memoir.
Bridging such vast chasms in experience among the world’s near-200 countries is the aim of the United Nations. The Midas Maze is a novel that brings to life the vast global network from a very personal perspective
In The Midas Maze American writer Kaye is married to UN diplomat Jorge when she lands a UN position that brings her under control of a ruthless power players. As Kaye negotiates her way around competing loyalties, she finds her life crumbling as personal agendas draw her deeper into the vast network of global politics.
Set in the glamorous diplomatic world of United Nations Headquarters in New York, The Midas Maze highlights the human element in the vast global machinery based on the indispensable national bureaucracies set up throughout the world. Within that network, the work elucidates the wide opening for doing either good or evil in a global world.
Fogarassy’s forthcoming works continue to explore the role of the individual within an ever-widening world. Currently, there is no substitute for the human psyche, regardless of technological advances. The human psych develops by way of communication with the outside world. Information about that world is advanced only by humans communicating with each other in a multitude of mediums but most precisely through words.