Sandor Marai, Memoir of Hungary
Presentation of Sandor Marai's book Memoir of Hungary. A prestigious writer in all of pre-war central Europe, Marai fell into obscurity after his voluntary exile to the United States. His work was rediscovered by Europe in the 1990s.
Sandor Marai was born in 1900 in Kassa, Hungary (today's Slovakia), and died in 1989. A journalist at the prestigious "Frankfurter Zeitung", he travelled through Weimar, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin and Paris before staying in Budapest in 1928. A literary critic, it was he who first wrote the articles about Franz Kafka. At the same time, he was an author. His novels had an immediate success (The Rebels, 1930, Casanova in Bolzano, 1940, Embers, 1942).
In 1948 Hungary was put under the communist yoke: Sandor Marai was condemned by the new powers as a " bourgeois author" and forced to exile himself, first to Italy, and then the United States to San Diego. In 1956 following the invasion of Hungary by the Soviets, Sandor Marai showed his opposition to communism by refusing to let the works be published in the "occupied" countries. In California, he continued to write novels, poetry collections, theatre pieces, memoirs, always in Hungarian. But outside his birth country, his work struggled to find an audience.
Becoming a widower, living in an ever worsening isolation, Sandor Marai killed himself at the age of 89. His work, that remained largely unknown outside Hungary during his lifetime, was rediscovered in the 90s by the instigation of the editor Albin Michel and the director of the Hungarian collection Ibolya Virag. Today Sandor Marai's works are translated in several countries and he is considered as a major figure of European literature in the twentieth century.