An early novel from the great rediscovered Hungarian writer Sándor Márai, The Rebels is a haunting story of a group of alienated boys on the cusp of adult life—and possibly death—during World War I.
It is the summer of 1918, and four boys approaching graduation are living in a ghost town bereft of fathers, uncles, and older brothers, who are off fighting at the front. The boys know they will very soon be sent to join their elders, and in their final weeks of freedom they begin acting out their frustrations and fears in a series of subversive games and petty thefts. But when they attract the attention of a stranger in town—an actor with a traveling theater company—their games, and their lives, begin to move in a direction they could not have predicted and cannot control, and one that reveals them to be strangers to one another. Resisting and defying adulthood, they find themselves still subject to its baffling power even in their attempted rebellion.
About the Author
SANDOR MARAI (pronounced SHAN-dor) was born in Kassa, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1900. He rose to fame as one of the leading literary novelists in Hungary in the 1930s. Profoundly antifascist, he survived WWII, but persecution by the Communists drove the his country in 1948, first to Italy and then to the United States. He committed suicide in San Diego in 1989. He is the author of a significant body of work, which Knopf is translating into English.
George Szirtes is a Hungarian-born British poet and translator who has translated works by Sandor Csoori, Dezso Kosztolanyi, and Laszlo Krasznahorkai.
“A darkly comic, war-ravaged coming-of-age tale that displays much of the genius visible in his later works, but [is] also funnier and more extravagantly imaginative.” —The New Yorker
“The emotional power of the story is that of a simple, straightforward narrative . . . followed by stunning revelation.” —The Boston Globe
“A morbidly comic novel . . . marked by passages of bleak elegiac grandeur.” —The New York Sun