As in that work, there coexist two dissimilar, segregated societies, one developed and the other backward. The Hins are a people who have solved all economic problems: Production and usage of goods is based on need instead of money, and the standard of living is impeccable. The Hins live without any kind of government or administrative body, as their belief is that such would only hinder production. They lead their lives according to the "pure reality of existence," which they call kazo.
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Written by an obscure Hungarian in Esparanto, first published in but not translated into english until , Kazohinia is a unique and fascinating gem of utopian literature.
I knew nothing about it when I bought my copy from Oxfam, the cover appealed to me, as did the unknown, eastern European name of the author. That said, I left it sitting around for a few years before finally reading it. The society he describes is like no other I am aware of, a land without any government or economics, yet characterised by order and plenty, completely free of any crime or suffering. For example, the natural needs of the body are kazo, yet friendship, music, love, and even the concept of beauty, are kazi to the Hins.
The Hins all work for each other because not to do so would entail suffering, yet they only cooperate when there is a tangible benefit, hardly conversing otherwise.
Gulliver is horrified by the cold and monotonous nature of their lives, and looks for escape amongst their outcasts, the Behins, who they keep enclosed behind walls in a settlement. However, he soon discovers that the Behins are infinitely worse, a truly insane society driven by random, ridiculous monomanias. All their actions satirise our own tendancy to worship symbols, even to the point of conflict, but much of what they do goes beyond the point of silliness.
The society of the Hins is an incredible work of philosophical speculation though, up there with those of Huxley and Orwell. Is it a dystopia or a utopia? For that last quality alone, count me out! A one-off masterpiece of sorts. I was unsure as to what to expect from Sandor Szathmaris work, and what I found was a very enjoyable story. Szathmari creates a world unlike one we have ever known. Many times as I was reading, the story questioned things I had thought Id known a lot about.
Although the story is set in a world different from our own, connections can be drawn, satirizing our own modern world and what it has become. Overall, a very enjoyable read which I recommend to fans of Dystopian literature and curious readers alike!
Voyage to Kazohinia