Hi, Bookies! Let’s Talk About Embers

The No-Obligation Book Club reads Sandor Marai’s gorgeous gem of a novel.

Photo by amazon.com

Hi, everyone:

I’m Deb Curtis, the director of audience development at Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Group Digital, and I’d like to give you a big thank-you for making up my mind between reading Embers and Franny and Zooey: It was a tough call! Embers was recommended to me over the holiday break, and it was made to sound like such a beautiful and concise story—a very fitting read in a month that is both short and sweet. Based on the reviews, it may leave us shedding a few tears into our Whitman’s samplers, but that’s okay, salted chocolates are all the rage these days. So let’s enjoy this…

According to goodreads.com, readers have given Embers an Ed McMahon–worthy 3 and ¾ stars: “Originally published in 1942 and now rediscovered to international acclaim, this taut and exquisitely structured novel by the Hungarian master Sandor Marai conjures the melancholy glamour of a decaying empire and the disillusioned wisdom of its last heirs.

“In a secluded woodland castle an old General prepares to receive a rare visitor, a man who was once his closest friend but who he has not seen in forty-one years. Over the ensuing hours host and guest will fight a duel of words and silences, accusations and evasions. They will exhume the memory of their friendship and that of the General’s beautiful, long-dead wife. And they will return to the time the three of them last sat together—following a hunt in the nearby forest—a hunt in which no game was taken but during which something was lost forever. Embers is a classic of modern European literature, a work whose poignant evocation of the past also seems like a prophetic glimpse into the moral abyss of the present.”

Let’s read it like this:

• Chapters 1 through 7 for Friday, February 7.

• Chapters 8 through 14 for Friday, February 14.

• Chapters 15 through 20 for Friday, February 21.

Here we go!