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Another Look: Sándor Márai’s Embers

EVT 523
Oct 18
7:30 pm
Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall
Status: No Registration Required

The Another Look book club focuses on short classics that have been forgotten, neglected, or overlooked—or may simply not have received the attention they merit. The selected works are short, in order to encourage the involvement of Bay Area readers whose time may be limited. Subscription at anotherlook.stanford.edu is encouraged for regular updates and details on the selected books and events.

Sándor Márai’s Embers

In a secluded Hungarian castle, an old general awaits a reunion with a friend. It is 1940, and he has not appeared in public for decades. The long-estranged companions talk all night—or rather, the general talks, as the evasive visitor listens to the general discuss love, intimacy, honor, betrayal, and a beautiful, long-dead wife.

Sándor Márai’s taut and mesmerizing Embers, published in 1942, is set against the backdrop of the disintegrated Austro-Hungarian empire. The melancholy wisdom of its narrator lingers long after the book ends: “We not only act, talk, think, dream, we also hold our silence about something. All our lives we are silent about who we are, which only we know, and about which we can speak to no one. Yet we know that who we are and what we cannot speak about constitutes the ‘truth.’ We are that about which we hold our silence.”

Following the discussion will be a question-and-answer session with the speakers.

Robert Pogue Harrison
Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature, Stanford; Host of “Entitled Opinions” (KZSU radio); Director, Another Look

Tobias Wolff
Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor of English, Emeritus, Stanford; Author; Founding Director, Another Look

Jane Shaw
Dean for Religious Life; Professor of Religious Studies; Professor, by courtesy, of History, Stanford
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