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While the world wasn't watching

Daniel Arpad Nyikos, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation, in the form of a novel, shows a black metal guitarist, Elek Fazekas, at the end of his youth. After spending the last sixteen years in the black metal subculture, Elek faces the impending death of his best friend and bandmate, Joey Stone. To spare himself the devastation of watching his only friend die slowly and to take one last chance at professional success, Elek travels to Hungary to participate in a heavy metal festival. It is the country his parents grew up in but fled in the early 1980's, before Elek was born. Elek, who visited Hungary only once before, finds a country very different from the one he remembers from his childhood and from the stories his mother told him. Questions about his own Hungarian identity become entangled with the history of his family, particularly as he learns secrets about his grandfather's involvement in the Second World War. These difficult questions are further complicated by the ultranationalist leanings of some members of the metal subculture in Hungary. ^ In this novel, I explore the endless search for identity among second-generation people caught between the native culture of their parents and that of the country in which they were raised. This search is made even more painful by the uniquely difficult situation of my own generation, the last to grow up with a direct link to the horrors of the Second World War. Those whose families come from countries that participated in atrocities during the war must each decide how to face the ghosts of the past.^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Nyikos, Daniel Arpad, "While the world wasn't watching" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3667016.