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About the Author: Sándor Márai

Sándor Márai (originally Sándor Károly Henrik Grosschmied de Mára) was a Hungarian writer and journalist.
He was born in the city of Kassa in Austria-Hungary (now Košice in Slovakia) to an old family of Saxon origin who had mixed with magyars through the centuries. Through his father he was a relative of the Ország-family. In his early years, Márai travelled to and lived in Frankfurt, Berlin, and Paris and briefly considered writing in German, but eventually chose his mother language, Hungarian, for his writings. He settled in Krisztinaváros, Budapest, in 1928. In the 1930s, he gained prominence with a precise and clear realist style. He was the first person to write reviews of the work of Kafka.
He wrote very enthusiastically about the Vienna Awards, in which Germany forced Czechoslovakia and Romania to give back part of the territories which Hungary lost in the Treaty of Trianon. Nevertheless, Márai was highly critical of the Nazis as such and was considered "profoundly antifascist," a dangerous position to take in wartime Hungary.
Marai authored forty-six books, mostly novels, and was considered by literary critics to be one of Hungary's most influential representatives of middle class literature between the two world wars. His 1942 book Embers (Hungarian title: A gyertyák csonkig égnek, meaning "The Candles Burn Down to the Stump") expresses a nostalgia for the bygone multi-ethnic, multicultural society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, reminiscent of the works of Joseph Roth. In 2006 an adaptation of this novel for the stage, written by Christopher Hampton, was performed in London.
He also disliked the Communist regime that seized power after World War II, and left – or was driven away – in 1948. After living for some time in Italy, Márai settled in the city of San Diego, California, in the United States.
He continued to write in his native language, but was not published in English until the mid-1990s. Márai's Memoir of Hungary (1944-1948) provides an interesting glimpse of post World War II Hungary under Soviet occupation. Like other memoirs by Hungarian writers and statesmen, it was first published in the West, because it could not be published in the Hungary of the post-1956 Kádár era. The English version of the memoir was published posthumously in 1996. After his wife died, Márai retreated more and more into isolation. He committed suicide by a gunshot to his head in San Diego in 1989.
Largely forgotten outside of Hungary, his work (consisting of poems, novels, and diaries) has only been recently "rediscovered" and republished in French (starting in 1992), Polish, Catalan, Italian, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Danish, Icelandic, Korean, Dutch, and other languages too, and is now considered to be part of the European Twentieth Century literary canon.


Other books by Sándor Márai

 
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Goodreads rating: 3.77

Paperback, Published in Mar 2007 by Salamandra

ISBN10: 8498380898 | ISBN13: 9788498380897

Page count: 254

Escrita en 1946 a continuación de El último encuentro, esta novela es otro claro exponente de la especial sensibilidad y talento del gran autor húngaro para abordar las preocupaciones primordiales del ser humano, aquellas que trascienden los momentos históricos y las fronteras geográficas. La pasión, el dolor, la enfermedad, el éxtasis del arte y el misterio de la muerte son algunos de esos temas intemporales que Sándor Márai trata magistralmente en estas páginas, la última obra que publicó en su país antes de exiliarse.
En la cumbre de su fama como pianista, Z. se dirige en tren a Florencia invitado por el gobierno italiano para dar un concierto. Poco antes de cruzar la frontera, se siente indispuesto y, tras su actuación, debe ser ingresado en un hospital florentino aquejado de una rara enfermedad vírica. Allí, mientras se debate entre la vida y la muerte, tendrá lugar un diálogo intenso y decisivo con el médico que lo atiende, una indagación sin concesiones sobre el precario equilibrio entre el poder curativo de la ciencia y el espíritu de lucha del paciente. Una noche, presa del delirio causado por la morfina, Z. escucha una voz femenina que le susurra: «no quiero que mueras». Las palabras actúan como un revulsivo que lo llevará a replantearse aspectos fundamentales de su vida.
Pocas veces una novela ha tratado con tanta elegancia y lucidez la profunda relación entre médico y enfermo. Ante el ineludible encuentro con el dolor y la enfermedad, a Z. sólo le queda bucear en los límites de su ser y de sus fantasmas personales.

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