It is tempting to look for symbolic connections, comparing, say, the relationship of Niki and the Ancsas with that of the Ancsas and the state, but this goes nowhere. There is no allegory or direct political message here and Niki really is the story of a dog and a family, with the background setting remaining a setting.
Nor is Niki anthropomorphised: the narrator speculates about her understanding and cognition, but realistically. It is her emotional life and her embedding in the relationships of those around her and their social lives which make her a genuine character.
An introduction by George Szirtes provides some background for those unfamiliar with the history. Published in 1956, Niki was surprisingly left unbanned after the Soviet crackdown, even though Tibor Déry spent three years in prison.
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