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Embers Paperback – August 13, 2002
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The story of the rediscovery of Embers is as fascinating as the novel itself. A celebrated Hungarian novelist of the 1930s, Márai survived the war but was persecuted by the Communists after they came to power. His books were suppressed, even destroyed, and he was forced to flee his country in 1948. He died in San Diego in 1989, one year before the neglected Embers was finally reprinted in his native land. This reprint was discovered by the Italian writer and publisher Roberto Calasso, and the subsequent editions have become international bestsellers. All of Márai's novels are now slated for American publication. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The language is particularly remarkable because the credits state that that the English transation of this book was made not from the orginal Hungarian but from the German translation of the Hungarian. It is a double tour de force of the translators' art.
Among this work's many charms is the period detail of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the very end of its long run, and an Old World culture that still echoes in memories of the airs and graces of immigrant grandparents. They say that history is written by the victorious (in war); well, although literature is most frequently published by the victorious as well, the vanquished keep on writing, and manuscripts don't burn.
As other reviewers have stated, the arresting story line of this book is told in the course of a single evening, but covers the lives of two old men beginning from the time they were boys, and centering an ambiguous act or acts of betrayal which occured at their last meeting forty-one years earlier.
There is not a single extraneous word, or wasted image, in this volume. This becomes more obvious upon second reading once one has satisfied oneself that one has solved, to the extent possible, the mystery presented in the storyline. The depth and subtlety of psychological insight that Marai brings to this work is astonishing.
The effect is a combination of the film "My Dinner with Andre," but without the humor, as written by Josephine Hart, the author of _Damage_. What is truly phenomenal to the 21st century American reader is that an author of such power and mastery could have lived and died (in Los Angeles, or thereabouts, in 1989!) utterly unknown until recently.
I disagree with comparisons of this author to Proust or Dostoevsky. He is more nearly akin to Pushkin, and this work can stand next to the _Queen of Spades_. You will not regret the time spent reading this book.
An old castle in The Carpathian Mountains is the setting for what approaches a monologue. The mood of the book is consistent with another who hailed from these mountains as Vlad The Impaler. The book is not a horror novel, rather a disturbing psychological thriller that explores what is truly at the heart of an issue after it has been examined for over 4 decades. Coincidentally the age of the author when he wrote the work, and the time that expires between one dinner between the closest of friends and its sequel, are both 42 years. The book is remarkable as he writes of the view of life from the perspective of people in their 8th and 10th decades of life, and the prose reads as authoritative and appropriate. It reads like a man who has lived twice as long as the author had lived when he penned this work. The writing is wise.
Mr. Marai takes a familiar theme that would normally result in rapid responses from those involved, and instead suspends any conclusion for over 4 decades. He presents two boys that grow up together and form bonds that are so absolute, there is nowhere for their friendship to improve. Their bond is complete; their backgrounds are polar opposites, which may give rise to the fall. There is an intentional breach, and then there is an event that never gets beyond the "almost" stage. Had it occurred it would have been the greatest of tragedies.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fascinating story that holds you captive while it unravels the truths and pains of the human soul. Deep and charged with feeling.Published 2 months ago by carla
Absolutely masterfully crafted! One of my favorite books of all time.Published 2 months ago by John E. Edwards, Jr.
I was really looking forward to reading this because of a newspaper review. Unfortunately, monologues are not my thing. I'm not recommending it to my book club.Published 2 months ago by Ares1
Put into words the tangle of emotion after life's wounds....and resolution is sought. Time seems neither friend nor foe, when emotions ebb and wane demanding to be dealt with.Published 3 months ago by Jacisam
this book is not easy to describe. the story has been lived by many people and told many times. this time it's told in a deep and beautiful way. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Holmesie