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Embers

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ISBN13: 9780141004310
ISBN10: 0141004312
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Paperback edition of this widely acclaimed and posthumously published novel from one of the most highly regarded Hungarian novelists of the 20th century. A story of passion, fidelity, truth and deception which was described in "The Observer" as "a lost masterpiece - a brilliant elegy on friendship, one of the most ambitious in literature". Colour, full-page national press advertising will support publication.

Synopsis:

A castle at the foot of the Carpathian mountains in the 1930s. Two men, inseparable in their youth, meet for the first time in 41 years. They have spent their lives waiting for this moment. Four decades earlier a murky, traumatic event had led to their sudden separation.

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Wendy Robards, April 6, 2008 (view all comments by Wendy Robards)
Sandor Marai was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1900 and became famous as a literary novelist. He was driven from Hungary after WWII due to his strong antifascist views and never again lived in his native country. Recently his work has been rediscovered and translated into English. Embers was first published in Budapest in 1942, and this translation was released in the United States in 2001.

The novel opens in a castle in Hungary sometime in the early twentieth century when an elderly General receives a letter from a boyhood friend he hasn’t seen or talked to for over 41 years. Marai then spirals back in time to orient the reader to the General’s early years growing up as the privileged son of the Officer of the Guards. Henrik’s future was laid out for him to become a soldier of status, and early in his life he meets Konrad - a poor, musically gifted boy whose roots lie in Poland. The two boys become unlikely friends. The reader is also introduced to Nini - a nursemaid who has been with Henrik for 75 years having helped birth him. She is a mysterious figure and the only person with whom Henrik seems to have developed a lasting and meaningful relationship.

Once the stage is set, Marai returns the reader to present day - a day swathed in anticipation and secrets as Konrad arrives at the castle to dine with Henrik and discuss the last time they saw each other. Henrik has become a man of solitude, living mostly alone in the castle and waiting for the day when Konrad would return to reveal his motivations for abandoning Henrik.

Marai’s writing is drenched in mood and suspense. The castle stands in a wilderness filled with deer and bear, candles flicker, and the dead are brought back to life with Henrik’s recollections of a time long gone. The beautiful Krisztina, Henrik’s wife who has now been dead more than eighteen years, now seems to hover in the background.

With tremendous skill, Marai writes of guilt, betrayal, love and revenge while he unravels the story of Henrik and Konrad and why they parted many years before.

Marai is a skilled writer who crafts a story of two men and their friendship. He asks difficult and thought-provoking questions about the nature of humans and why they do what they do. Marai’s writing is eloquent. His narration is magnificently constructed which creates the suspense in what is largely a character driven novel.

In the end, two questions are posed which are left for the reader to answer - not a neat ending, but a thoughtful one.

Highly recommended; rated 4.5/5.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780141004310
Author:
MARAI, SANDOR
Translator:
JANEWAY, CAROL BROWN
Publisher:
Libri
Location:
N
Copyright:
Edition Description:
NEW ED
Publication Date:
20030206
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
198 x 128 in.

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Children's » Animals » Animal Stories » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Embers New Mass Market
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$16.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Penguin Books Ltd - English 9780141004310 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A castle at the foot of the Carpathian mountains in the 1930s. Two men, inseparable in their youth, meet for the first time in 41 years. They have spent their lives waiting for this moment. Four decades earlier a murky, traumatic event had led to their sudden separation.
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