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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 Like other memoirs by Hungarian writers and statesmen, it was first published in the West, because it could not be published in the Hungary of the post-1956 Kádár era.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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Paperback, by Publicaciones y Ediciones Salamandra, S.A.

ISBN10: 8498383579 | ISBN13: 9788498383577

Quando la giovane donna che ha chiesto udienza entra nel suo ufficio, il consigliere di Stato ha una reazione bizzarra: una violenta ilarità si diffonde nelle sue membra come un formicolio. "È così che deve ridere il diavolo» pensa l'alto funzionario "quando si rende conto ... che il suo volto ... somiglia – sia pure in modo deforme e orrendo, vago e terribile – a quello di Dio». Perché la splendida creatura che gli sta davanti è il doppio perfetto di colei che anni prima, nella penombra di una stanza, gli aveva chiesto, con voce lievemente roca, citando Lord Lyttelton: "Tell me, my Heart, if this be Love?». Poco tempo dopo quella donna si era uccisa – per amore di un altro. E adesso è tornata, pensa l'uomo: adesso che lui, a quarantacinque anni, comincia a sentirsi vecchio; ed è tornata proprio nel giorno in cui egli ha appena controfirmato un documento che getterà il suo paese nella tragedia della guerra. Ma la giovane seduta di fronte a lui gli dice di venire dal Nord e di chiamarsi Aino Laine: un nome che in finlandese significa Unica Onda. Che cosa vuole? Un permesso di soggiorno, dice... Eppure, forse, non tutto è così limpido, e il consigliere lo scoprirà al termine di una lunga notte in cui quella donna, comparsa all'improvviso nella sua vita come un gabbiano planato da lontananze boreali (uccelli voraci, i gabbiani, dotati di una straordinaria energia, e di occhi grigioverdi, simili a quelli di Aino), si mostrerà più ambigua e indecifrabile di quanto lui avesse immaginato – e gli svelerà qualcosa di sorprendente sull'unicità delle creature umane. Ancora una volta – come nelle Braci, come in Divorzio a Buda – al centro di questo enigmatico romanzo troviamo un triangolo amoroso, che Márai ci narra con quella carezzevole e crudele maestria che è soltanto sua.

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