Anewly translated novel from the great rediscovered Hungarian writer: a tautly suspenseful story of unrequited love and its still vivid consequences twenty years later.
What is it to be in love with a pathological liar and fantasist? Esther is, and has been for the more than two decades since Lajos disappeared from her life. Now all these years later, Lajos is returning, and the news brings both panic and excitement. While no longer young and thoroughly skeptical about Lajos, Esther still remembers how incredibly alive she felt when he was around. His presence bewitches everyone, and the greatest part of his charm—and his danger—lies in the deftness with which he wields that delicate power. Friends rally round protectively, but Lajos’s arrival begins a day of high theater that will leave Esther’s life dramatically changed again.
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.
“Márai is one of the greatmodern novelists, in the same league as Gabriel García Márquez.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Spellbinding.... A passionate tale.... Deliciously portentous: the deceptions woven around these characters introduce a sharp sliver of danger.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Deeply psychological.... Vivid and gripping....Pristinely wrought and breathtakingly incisive.”
—Booklist (starred review)