On Sandor Marai

May 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

I like very much the books of Hungarian writer Sandor Marai. I encountered him relatively late, I believe some 3 years ago, but after been highly recommended by a friend i decided to explore his books. First I bought  “Portraits of a Marriage“, which in my Spanish version is titled, interestingly enough, “The Fair Woman(La Mujer Justa). I loved the book, the way the story is told and above all, I was fascinated by Marai´s uncanny ability to recreate the most intimate corners of people´s minds.

After this successful reading I decided to buy a second book, the one that in Spanish is titled “The Last Encounter”(El Ultimo Encuentro) and which i believe has not been edited in English. Again I was not disappointed, another superbly told story of a very special friendship. And then,  spurred by my enthusiasm, I decided to buy yet another book. However, this time i decided, for a change, to buy a book in English since i was curious about how his stories were translated. I bought “Esther´s Inheritance” and i was perplexed. Certainly this could not be the same Sandor Marai i was so ravenous about. The characters were constructed  so flatly, the story seemed almost predictable (not that this is an adjective that can describe his other books at all), i did not finish the book. What had happened? I could say that this book perhaps was not his best?? or that the translation was not so successful?? or that maybe the Hungarian language translates better in Spanish than in English?? I can´t say, I would have to read the Spanish version and then compare. Maybe I´ll do that, but then again I did not like the book …

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