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Memoir of Hungary, 1944-1948

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The novel Embers is selling in tens of thousand in a number of countries. The memoir of its author depicts Hungary between 1944 and 1948.
Paperback, 426 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Central European University Press (first published 1971)
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Paul Haspel
Sándor Márai’s Memoir of Hungary, 1944-1948 captures life in Hungary during one of the most turbulent times in Hungary’s history. Márai, a prolific novelist who critiqued in his novels the smugness and intellectual aridity he saw in the Hungarian middle class, describes well in this book what he saw unfolding in Budapest as his city and country moved from the horrors of the Second World War to Soviet occupation and the imposition of a communist regime controlled from Moscow. The book begins in M ...more
Michael Van Campenhout
As an Hungarian himself it must have been difficult to keep an objective opinion in writing this autobiography, something he succeeds well enough. This writer is one of the most important persons in 20th century since he is not only giving his opinion about the history of his own country, but also a strong believe in a stronger Europe that looks for its existence after WWII.
I read this in Hungarian. Recollections of life in Hungary from late 1944 to 1948, during the Russian liberation and the subsequent communist takeover of the country. He delves into the role and fate of Hungarian writers in particular, and his own experiences and ultimate decision to leave the country. A fairly heavy and introspective book with some sharp commentary on the absurdity of life under the communists. One funny chapter is about his childhood memories of his grandmother. The book was a ...more
Pensaba que sabía, más o menos, lo que era el comunismo. Sándor Márai explica detalladamente lo que es: una debacle espiritual. la pérdida de la decencia, de la búsqueda de la excelencia, de la libertad. Es la muerte, terrorífica, sufriente, del humanismo, de lo humano, de lo que hace al hombre lo que es, de eso que lo distingue de las bestias. Lo humano que se ha dado de manera más perfecta en Occidente, en Europa. Solo allí el régimen se puso al servicio del individuo, y no al revés, como pasa ...more
Meryl Natchez
How rare to read a chronicle of the invasion of a country that is so even-handed and insightful. Marai Sandor kept diaries during the invasion of Hungary, first by the Germans, then by the Russians. His book covers the siege of Budapest, and the eventual Communist takeover of the Hungarian government and his subsequent exile. A fascinating and informative read for anyone interested in this period. (And I hardly ever read non-fiction!)
Bözsi Claussen
I only just finished this book today, and think it would be of tremendous interest to anyone, such as the members of my family, who knew Father and is interested in hearing another thinker-writer's description and memories of essentially the same period that my parents experienced and what led them, too, eventually to leave Hungary. I was impressed in the way Márai wrote about the period, but also the way he foregrounds how much the Hungarian language IS what both unites Hungarians with Hungaria ...more
Un témoignage sur le basculement de Budapest de la guerre au communisme. Permet d'approcher la culture hongroise, de comprendre l'importance de la langue ( pas assez de mots en hongrois pour traduire, d.ou le statut des traducteurs la bas et une identité fondée sur cette rareté - peut-être à rapprocher du droit de vote donné aux hongrois vivant à l'étranger, même s'ils sont naturalisés) souffrance de la guerre, pillage soviétique, l.autriche qui échappe aux russes et la Hongrie encore sacrifiée. ...more
Feb 15, 2013 Rob rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: hungary
Very telling account of Marai's life just prior to the "liberation" of Hungary from German control and the ensuing Russian occupation. From one bad circumstance to another.

I have read a handful of Marai's novels. This 4 year biography is very different than his books yet allows you to see the man is extremely intelligent and explains some of the pure genius in his other novels (Embers is my favorite).

His description of the first several encounters with Russian soldiers is almost surreal. I canno
David Koblos
His memoirs from his first encounter with a Russian soldier at the end of the war, until his sad and reluctant departure from Hungary, as the result of the unbearable conditions under the communist regime. Certain parts are lively and exciting to read. Other parts are really just interesting for those who know more about Hungarian literature. More than me, at least.
Diepzinnig boek over hoe de schrijver Marai bij de keuze komt, om zijn geboorteland te verlaten en nooit meer terug te keren. In de overpeinzingen en gedachten lees en leef je mee met de verandering van Hongarije naar een communistische satelietstaat van de Sovjet Unie na 1945.
At once heart-rending in its description of Hungary 1944-1948 and hilarious in the author's narcissism amid the horror.
Despina Cook
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Sándor Márai (originally Sándor Károly Henrik Grosschmied de Mára) was a Hungarian writer and journalist.
He was born in the city of Kassa in Austria-Hungary (now Košice in Slovakia) to an old family of Saxon origin who had mixed with magyars through the centuries. Through his father he was a relative of the Ország-family. In his early years, Márai travelled to and lived in Frankfurt, Berlin, and P
More about Sándor Márai...
Embers La mujer justa La herencia de Eszter Casanova in Bolzano Divorcio en Buda

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“Goethe (no sé por qué, pero en los momentos críticos siempre me habla Goethe) decía que uno debía vivir su propio destino. No un destino impuesto por los acontecimientos, por la Historia o las circunstancias, sino su propio destino, único, irrepetible e individual. Hace cien años quizá fuera posible... En la etapa de la Revolución Francesa y las guerras napoleónicas, el individuo aún podía oponerse, con habilidad o astucia, al destino colectivo. Era posible esconderse, o bien construir en el alma un dique de contención... Hace cien años, cuando alguien subía al cadalso o caía en el campo de batalla, sabía que era su destino personal el que se estaba cumpliendo. Pero ¿y hoy? Ya no existe el destino personal, sólo existe la probabilidad estadística. No se puede considerar un destino propio cuando explota una bomba atómica o cuando una dictadura impone su obsoleta y estúpida sentencia a toda una sociedad. «Así que tengo que irme de aquí, irme a otro lugar donde quizá pueda vivir mi propio destino personal durante un tiempo. Porque aquí ya sólo soy un dato numérico dentro de una categoría dada.»” 0 likes
“Goethe (I don’t know why, but Goethe somehow always speaks up in my critical moments) said: “Man must experience his own destiny” - not a factual destiny forced on him by History, but the nonrecurrent, his very own. Perhaps this was possible a hundred years ago. At the time of the French Revolution and also of the Napoleonic Wars, an individual still had the means of turning against the collective destiny adroitly, cunningly. He could hide or build emergency dams hastily in his soul. And a hundred years ago when someone mounted the scaffold or fell on the battlefield, he knew that what was then being consummated personally was his destiny. But today? There is no longer a “personal destiny;” there are only statistical probabilities. One cannot feel it to be personal destiny when an atom bomb explodes or when a dictatorship enunciates an outmoded, stupid judgment on a society. This is why I must go somewhere from this place where, perhaps, it will be possible for me to live my own destiny for a time. Because here I have already become only a piece of data in a category.” 0 likes
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