"They had long ago stopped being children, but here, in this room, they discovered that they dared to do what would have shamed them in town, even in front of each oterh, that, somewhat shyly, they could continue playing at childhood, indulging a part of themselves that could never properly be developed in childhood, a part they still retained. It was only from this vantage point that they could clearly see the adult world as it was an discuss their experiences of it. The one-armed one entered this game with real passion. His nervous stuttering laughter grew more relaxed here. This bolt-hole in The Peculiar was the only place where, occasionally, even Erno could be seen laughing."
- The Rebels. Sándor Márai (translated by George Szirtes).
TEV NOTE: Starting today, we'll be leading a discussion of The Rebels for the Words Without Borders Book Club. We'll spend the month of October looking at this novel and have several interesting posts and guest interviews planned, so we hope you'll join us over there and help fill the comments boxes. The introductory post should appear presently at the WWB Blog today, and it begins thus:
The long and interesting literary life of Sándor Márai (or Márai Sándor, as a true Hungarian would call him) suggests that, to paraphrase Fitzgerald, even Hungarians can enjoy second acts. A prolific and respected author of the Hungarian middle class, Márai only became known to American readers when Knopf published Embers in 2001, in a translation from the German – about which more anon – by Carol Brown Janeway. Márai was suddenly enjoying the sort of posthumous success that writers, if they're honest, hope for, not unlike the attention that's being given today to Irene Nemirovsky's lost corpus. Some days it seems a European writer can't catch a break in America until he's dead. (In Márai's case, it's especially galling as he made San Diego his home in his later years, dying there in 1989.)