The Sanctuary of the Guilty topped the Best Seller's list in Europe. This book overtook Bridget Jones's Diary by H. Fielding, The Lord Of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and Imre Kertesz’s novel Fatelessness, which won a Nobel Prize. It was so successful that pirated versions of the book were circulated widely in Hungary.
It received the following review from Miklos Jancso (awarded Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for his work on Red Psalm):
“Laszlo Malota you honoured me with a copy of your novel. I read this novel three times. I like it. I like it because of its irony. I like the author’s courage, his incredible bravery. Are you aware of the importance of it? Do you know that you have stirred up a hornest’s nest? It involves persecution, anger. Perhaps involving stakes or not. Or maybe, all things considered, there could also be an auto-da-fe. A truly great film could be made from it. That would cause a huge scandal. It would be an incredible world scandal. - "Nobody has yet written so bravely and honestly about the abuse, the hardship, and the emotional and psychological terror of the catholic seminary as Laszlo Malota. He introduces the world of the seminary, closed to outsiders, with sober objectivity. He depicts the atmosphere of the seminary with such astonishing vividity that you feel that you yourself have become a student of the seminary.”
“Nobody has yet written so bravely and honestly about the abuse, the hardship, and the emotional and psychological terror of the catholic seminary as Laszlo Malota. He introduces the world of the seminary, closed to outsiders, with sober objectivity. He depicts the atmosphere of the seminary with such astonishing vividity that you feel that you yourself have become a student of the seminary.”
It received the following review from David Paul Kirkpatrick (Former President of the Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Motion Picture Group):
„Laszlo Malota has written a breathtaking book, Sanctuary of the Guilty that everyone should read for such a book will change perspectives. I hope that one day, we will not only read it but see it as a movie. In the right hands, I am sure the movie would be fantastic.”
Malota’s book Sanctuary of the Guilty (A Gyalázatosak Szentélye) topped the bestseller list in Hungary, Europe. Sanctuary of the Guilty became a bestseller after its publication. This book overtook Imre Kertész’s novel Fatelessness, which won a Nobel prize.
Laszlo Malota: Sanctuary Of The Guilty
Imre Kertesz: Fatelessness
Umberto Eco: Baudolino
Magda Szabo: Für Elise
Michael Cunningham: The Hours
John Sanford: Vendetta
J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord Of The Rings
Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones’s Diary
The Sanctuary of the Guilty was so successful that pirated versions of the book were circulated widely in the country, alongside the Nobel prize-winning work.
Laszlo Malota swept through the Hungarian book world with his first, semi-autobiographical novel, Sanctuary of the Guilty, winning the hearts and minds of Hungarian readers. He has earned the title of one of the most read Hungarian authors with his gripping, exciting, enthralling, subtle – and for this reason more powerful – and occasionally seemingly playful style of writing.
Laszlo Malota was the second child of highly educated parents. He showed a startling talent for music when he was four years old. His parents sent him to a music school where he learned to play bassoon, piano, and violin. He went on to win numerous prestigious competitions. His parents’ illnesses and the unreliability of a career in music forced him to choose a more stable profession. At the age of eighteen, he enrolled in the Pazmany Peter Catholic University, where he lived in a seminary. In addition to his love of literature and classical music, he enjoys sports. He has been an elite athlete, competing as a boxer, and in athletics, kayaking, and tennis. He has also run many marathons.
SYNOPSIS - Sanctuary of the Guilty by Laszlo Malota
Eighteen year old Marcus is bound by an oath to his grandfather to enter a seminary in order to escape poverty and receive an education. His intelligence and wit set him apart immediately as does his critique of a faith he does not share with the other students. While locked in a cellar his first night as punishment for an offence he does not understand Marcus reflects on the people he left hurting in the outside world, his young broken hearted fiancé and the tumultuous relationship with his dying grandfather. The following day when the ruling elders finally release him and pronounce their judgment, Marcus is left fearful of future reprimand and torment.
Life in the seminary becomes more and more oppressive for Marcus who tries to be open and sensitive to a higher leading. He cannot escape the feeling of imprisonment and begins to realize that no one is reliable, with the exception of one fellow student, Lucianus. Lead by this friend, Marcus arrives one night at a vigil held by neighboring nuns, only to be entangled with a passionate sister and giving in to their mutual desires. Bridled by guilt and confusion he struggles to understand the nature of a place that would create such thirst and then condemn the quenching of it.
Back at the seminary Marcus is disturbed by his roommates’ constant meddling. In the following weeks, with the help of a little devilish scheming, he is able to manipulate his roommates into having him moved to a separate cell. Relocated to the senior students wing he discovers even more shocking details about the lives of those who now control his own. Resisting a world of homosexual temptations and secret betrothals, he often falls into contemplation about the love he lost and the promise he made to endure for the sake of honor and refinement. His only consolation comes in a veiled bond he forges with a homeless man hiding in the seminary and the trust he shares with Lucianus.
Following the suicide of one of his classmates, he and the other students are allowed to attend mass in the city’s grand Basilica. Submitting to his desire to be free, he slips out into the city and is mistaken by an elderly woman for a priest and lead to her home to anoint her dying husband. Knowing he has no right to do so he is stricken by the parallels between this man and his own grandfather. When night falls in the city, he meets his former fiancé and discovers her pitiful descent since leaving her to enter the seminary. He tries to heal her shame by giving her sanctuary in his cell at the seminary but soon discovers her condemnation of him is too strong and he must let her go, broken as he found her.
In the following weeks Marcus and Lucianus return often to the nunnery, indulging in separate relationships. As their forbidden affairs develop Lucianus becomes engaged but struggles with how to fulfill his marital vows and still remain a man of the cloth. Marcus also becomes reacquainted with love, though he is unable to submit because of guilt over his oath and the broken state of his former fiancé. Marcus spends many sleepless nights struggling with his desires, duties and how much of others’ actions are his responsibility.
One evening during the practice of silence a peer is privately removed from the seminary and placed into a mental hospital. Marcus is the only one brave enough to visit and even his strong satirical nature is worn down by the knowledge of even greater unspeakable acts. His friend Lucianus is found out and expelled, his new love dies and finally Marcus is left entirely alone to decide whether he should confess his sins or swallow his own shame. Ultimately, he puts his trust in the redeeming power of confession. Holding nothing back he shares his sins inside the sanctity of a priest’s confessional only to have them publicly disclosed when the priest reports Marcus’ confessions to the council, giving them ample reason to expel him from the seminary.