All this month at Words Without Borders, Mark Sarvas will be leading a book discussion on Sandor Marai’s The Rebels.
Mark’s introductory post should be up at the WWB Blog soon, but for now, here’s his post about the club, and his introductory paragraph:
The long and interesting literary life of Sándor Márai (or Márai Sándor, as a true Hungarian would call him) suggests that, to paraphrase Fitzgerald, even Hungarians can enjoy second acts. A prolific and respected author of the Hungarian middle class, Márai only became known to American readers when Knopf published Embers in 2001, in a translation from the German – about which more anon – by Carol Brown Janeway. Márai was suddenly enjoying the sort of posthumous success that writers, if they’re honest, hope for, not unlike the attention that’s being given today to Irene Nemirovsky’s lost corpus. Some days it seems a European writer can’t catch a break in America until he’s dead. (In Márai’s case, it’s especially galling as he made San Diego his home in his later years, dying there in 1989.)
Despite cries that literature is dead, dying, and self-replicating in the worst way, once in a while a book comes along to remind readers that there’s still a lot of surprise to be found on the printed page. To be. . .
“I was small. And my village was small, I came to know that in time. But when I was small it was big for me, so big that when I had to cross it from one end to the other,. . .
A few weeks after moving into a farm house in the Welsh countryside, Emilie, an expatriate from the Netherlands, starts to think about her uncle. This uncle tried to drown himself in a pond in front of the hotel where. . .
Think back to the last adventure- or action-type book you read. Wasn’t it cool? Didn’t it make you want to do things, like learn to shoot a crossbow, hack complicated information systems, travel to strange worlds, take on knife-wielding thugs,. . .
In Aira’s Shantytown, while we’re inside the characters’ heads for a good portion of the story, the voice we read on the page is really that of Aira himself, as he works out the plot of the book he’s writing.. . .
Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as. . .
Some time ago I read this phrase: “The page is the only place in the universe God left blank for me.”
Pedro Mairal’s short novel The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is more about these blank spaces than the usual full. . .
“What if even in the afterlife you have to know foreign languages? Since I have already suffered so much trying to speak Danish, make sure to assign me to the Polish zone . . .”
So reads a typical aphoristic “poem”. . .
If you somehow managed to overlook the 2012 translation of Andrés Neuman’s breathtaking Traveler of the Century (and woe betide all whom continue to do so), you now have two exceptional works of fiction from the young Argentine virtuoso demanding. . .
It is destined that we will all become our parents. Some try to avoid it while others embrace the metamorphosis. Either way, it never fails— children eventually become their parents. A Fairy Tale is a psychological novel told through day-to-day. . .