Sándor Márai 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 World War II, but persecution by the Communists drove him from the country in 1948, first to Italy and then to the United States. Márai committed suicide in San Diego in 1989. He is the author of a significant body of work, which is being translating into English.
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A Letter From The Translator
Sometimes there is justice in the world. A couple of years ago, the great
Italian publisher Roberto Calasso was on a trip to Paris when he noticed in
a publisher's catalog the reissue of a list of neglected classics. Given his
encyclopedic interest in Central European culture, he was curious to see the
name of a Hungarian novelist, Sándor Márai, of whom he had never heard, and
asked for material. Some French translations arrived, he started reading,
and he realized that he was in the presence of that rarest of discoveries, a
lost masterpiece. Calasso being Calasso, after a quick blizzard of phone
calls, he was not only the owner of publishing rights to this book and two
others, but was well on the way to unearthing an entire literary oeuvre.
Cut to the Frankfurt International Bookfair -- where publishers and agents from around the world meet to share their finds. I have hardly plopped down into my seat next to Calasso at a dinner when, with barely a nod to the usual convention of ten minutes of uproarious and unvarnished gossip about everybody and everything, he begins to talk about Márai. ...
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