Sándor Márai was born in Kassa, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1900, and died in San Diego in 1989. He rose to fame as one of the leading literary novelists in Hungary in the 1930s. Profoundly antifascist, he survived World War II, but persecution by the Communists drove him from the country in 1948, first to Italy, then to the United States. He is the author of a body of work now being rediscovered and which Knopf is translating into English.
A NOTE ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Carol Brown Janeway's translations include Binjamin Wilkomirski's Fragments, Marie de Hennezel's Intimate Death, Bernhard Schlink's The Reader, Jan Philipp Reemtsma's In the Cellar, Hans-Ulrich Treichel's Lost, Zvi Kolitz's Yosl Rakover Talks to God, and Benjamin Lebert's Crazy.
Marai Enthusiast, January 15, 2010 (view all comments by Marai Enthusiast)
This novel, while sparsely written and subdued in outward emotion, boils with suppressed emotion. The conversation that takes up 70% of the novel is brilliant. I have given this book as a gift on 5 separate occasions, and my friends have all praised it highly too. It is a true shame that Marai's work is not better known. Though written 70 years ago, this book, by far, was the best book of the last decade.
d randall, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by d randall)
This book shook me to the core. I believe a combination of factors gave the book its powerful impact for me. It certainly gained an immediate place on the reading experiences of a lifetime list and elicits strong responses even years after encountering it though I find it difficult to verbalize the story and my thinking concerning it. It may require some alchemy of timing, psychological state of mind and ambience of place to duplicate such a deep response but I continue to recommend it none-the-less.
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