January 21, 2009 by IMCPL Patron
Esther’s Inheritance, by Sandor Marai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes
Esther’s Inheritance is Marai’s most recent work to be translated to English; previous works include the The Rebels and the much acclaimed Embers. Esther receives word that after more than two decades, she will be paid a visit by Lajos, her first and only love. The scene unfolds almost theatrically as the charmer Lajos and his entourage arrive.
Lajos is a scoundrel, and she knows it. What are his intentions, and why did the relationship never materialize? More than just a story of unrequited love, Marai leaves the reader to question initial impressions, as well as the broader definition of love.
I am amazed that such a concise novel can have such carefully crafted characters and such a powerful message. Luckily, dozens of Marai’s works have yet to be translated to English, promising many more compelling reads.