Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Embers by Sandor Marai

Embers by Sandor Marai:

Originally published in 1942 and now rediscovered to international acclaim, this taut and exquisitely structured novel by the Hungarian master Sandor Marai conjures the melancholy glamour of a decaying empire and the disillusioned wisdom of its last heirs.

In a secluded woodland castle an old General prepares to receive a rare visitor, a man who was once his closest friend but who he has not seen in forty-one years. Over the ensuing hours host and guest will fight a duel of words and silences, accusations and evasions. They will exhume the memory of their friendship and that of the General’s beautiful, long-dead wife. And they will return to the time the three of them last sat together following a hunt in the nearby forest--a hunt in which no game was taken but during which something was lost forever. Embers is a classic of modern European literature, a work whose poignant evocation of the past also seems like a prophetic glimpse into the moral abyss of the present

This is the current selection for my book club, which is why I read it. The above synopsis is from the back cover. I don't know that I agree that "a duel of words" takes place; it's more a narrative. I really enjoyed the story, and found it to be very visual and haunting. There is also an air of suspense, although I found the ending to be anticlimactic. Worth reading, though!

I'm not putting this one up for grabs, as I've already promised it to someone in my book club.

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