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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 Like other memoirs by Hungarian writers and statesmen, it was first published in the West, because it could not be published in the Hungary of the post-1956 Kádár era.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: 3.40

Paperback, by Salamandra

ISBN10: 8498381479 | ISBN13: 9788498381474

Page count: 151

Rodeado del bullicio de las numerosas familias que veranean en el concurrido Hotel Argentina, en Dubrovnik, Viktor Askenasi, respetado profesor del Instituto de Estudios Orientales de París, soporta a duras penas la asfixiante canícula de la costa dálmata. Cercano a la cincuentena, el profesor ha emprendido un viaje en solitario por el Mediterráneo movido por una inquietud que lo perturba desde siempre y que lo llevó, unos meses antes, a dar un vuelco radical a su vida. Pese a haber descubierto un reducto de libertad, y estar dispuesto a asumir las consecuencias de sus actos como un paso ineludible en el camino hacia la plenitud, Viktor constata que esa libertad tiene otra cara imprevista que lo sume en el desconcierto. Así pues, atormentado por la duda, en un arrebato llama a la puerta de la mujer desconocida con la que acaba de cruzarse en el vestíbulo del hotel, sin saber si del otro lado del umbral lo aguarda la penumbra de la locura o la luz de la verdad.

Publicada en 1934, La extraña es una de las novelas más redondas de Sándor Márai; un texto breve y vibrante que narra un viaje hacia lo más recóndito del alma humana. Márai mantiene sin titubeos la tensión de un relato sobre la ambigüedad del amor, la angustia de la incertidumbre y el abismo de la soledad. Su inolvidable protagonista, Viktor Askenasi, es un hombre en busca de respuestas, un espíritu insatisfecho para quien lo que llamamos amor conduce apenas a una felicidad transitoria, antesala de la inevitable destrucción.

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