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Casanova in Bolzanoby Sándor Márai
Synopses & Reviews
Another rediscovered masterpiece from the author of Embers: an erotically charged novel — written within the framework of historical reality — about Casanova's fateful encounter with the woman who finally defeats him.
In 1756 Giacomo Casanova escaped from the dreaded cells of Venice's most infamous jail: it is at this moment that Sandor Marai begins his story. Stopping at the Italian village of Bolzano to rest, Casanova secures a loan to rebuild his life, and resumes his art of seduction. But there is another reason he has come to this particular village: the memory of a duel he fought long ago with the duke of Parma over a girl named Francesca. Casanova lost the fight; Francesca became the duke's wife; and the duke spared Casanova's life on condition that he never set eyes on her again. The village of Bolzano is part of the duke's lands. Now an old man, he arrives at the inn with a love letter he has intercepted from his wife to Casanova. He could kill Casanova on the spot, but instead, the duke makes him an irresistible offer, one that will ultimately be the downfall of the notorious lover.
Brimming with the the richness and psychological tension that made Embers an international bestseller, Casanova in Bolzano is further proof that Sandor Marai stands among the 20th century's greatest literary voices.
"October 31, 1756: the incorrigible playboy and roving gambler Giacomo Casanova escapes from a pestilent Venetian prison. Aiming for Munich, he stops near the Austrian border at an inn in Bolzano. The imperious septuagenarian duke of Parma, Casanova's victorious former rival for the hand of Francesca — then a teenager, now the duchess of Parma, and still in love with Casanova — just happens to live nearby. To prevent another duel, the duke blackmails the legendary womanizer: either he seduces Francesca, breaks her heart and leaves, thereby curing her of the 'infection' that is Casanova, or he risks being killed or turned in to the authorities. The fervent colloquy echoes the centerpiece téte-á-téte that structures Embers, Mrai's only other novel to be translated into English. Unlike Embers, however, this book fizzles out; an austere and poignant exposition on the inexorability of fate that has been building for over 200 pages collapses into an intolerably tedious, long-winded rant by Francesca as she tries to persuade Casanova to run away with her. The harangue makes it hard to believe that anyone would fight over her and makes the reader wonder why another Mrai (1900 — 1989) work was not translated before this one. Forecast: The 75,000 first printing may be ambitious, but a small trim size and elegant jacket make this a nice-looking Christmas pick." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
After escaping from the dreaded cells of Venice's most infamous jail, Casanova resumes his art of seduction in the Italian village of Bolzano, ultimately meeting his downfall in this psychologically-tense tale.
In 1756, after escaping from Venice's most notorious jail, Giacomo Casanova seeks refuge in the Italian village of Bolzano, where he once again embarks on a campaign of seduction, until the notorious lover meets his match at the hands of the woman who will ultimately defeat him. 75,000 first printing.
Another rediscovered masterpiece from the Hungarian novelist whose Embers became an international bestseller-a sensuous, suspenseful, aphoristic novel about theworld's most notorious seducer and the encounter that changes him forever. In 1756 Giacomo Casanova escapes from a Venetian prison and resurfaces in the Italian village of Bolzano. Here he receives an unwelcomevisitor: the aging but still fearsome Duke of Parma, who years before had defeated Casanova in a duel over a ravishing girl named Francesca and spared his life on condition that he never see her again. Now the duke hastaken Francesca as his wife-and intercepted a love letter from her to his old rival. Rather than kill Casanova on the spot, he makes him a startling offer, one that is logical, perverse, and irresistible. Turningan historical episode into a dazzling fictional exploration of the clasp of desire and death, Casanova in Bolzano is further proof that Saaacute;ndor Marai is one of the most distinctivevoices of the twentieth century.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Sándor Márai was born in Kassa, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1900, and died in San Diego, California, in 1989. He rose to fame as one of the leading literary novelists in Hungary in the 1930s. Profoundly antifascist, he survived the war, but persecution by the Communists drove him from the country in 1948, first to Italy, then to the United States. His novel Embers was published for the first time in English in 2001.
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