Sandor Marai biography

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Sandor Marai

Sandor Marai

Sandor Marai Biography

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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Interview

Carol Brown Janeway, the English language translator of Embers, describes what it was like to first read Sándor Márai's lost classic.  The Communists banned his books and destroyed every copy they could find but thanks to the Italian publisher Roberto Calasso, his books have been resurrected.

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. Nonsense forgotten, publishers from...

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Books by this Author

Books by Sandor Marai at BookBrowse
Portraits of a Marriage jacket Esther's Inheritance jacket Embers jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Sandor Marai but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Ha Jin

    Ha Jin

    Xuefei Jin, who writes under the pseudonym Ha Jin, was born in 1956 in Liaoning Province in northern China. His father was a military officer. In 1969, at only 14 years of age, Ha Jin joined the People's Liberation Army based... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Embers

    Try:
    Waiting
    by Ha Jin

  • Ismail Kadare

    Ismail Kadare

    Albanian writer Ismail Kadare was born in Gjirokaster, Albania in 1936; his father worked in the civil service.   He studied at the Faculty of History and Philology at the University of Tirana, graduating with a... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Embers

    Try:
    Agamemnon's Daughter
    by Ismail Kadare

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