In places Embers has a certain artificiality, but Márai's prose moves too fluently for us to really notice. It is an almost elegiac vision of one man's life, looking backwards with the distance and the perspective that old age brings: intense memories of childhood and youth, nostalgia for the vanished world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the worn-in tracks of repeated thinking on grievances and obsessions, and a life governed by routine and discipline, with ideas taking the place of feelings. The result is involving, moving, and though not deep sometimes provoking.
Note: First published in 1942 (and set in 1941) Embers has only just been translated into English, via a German translation from the original Hungarian.
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