Sandor Marai, Embers (Vintage, 2002).
The General waits in his castle for 41 years, as the world outside moves on apace, and then, finally, he receives the letter telling him that his boyfriend friend, Konrad, will return. The two grew close in military school in fin-de-siecle Vienna, but then, during a hunt in 1899, something happened, something the General has obsessed about ever since. This novel is the story of their dinner together and their conversation, in which the General recounts the events decades earlier and seeks to come to terms with them. First published in Hungary in 1942, Embers contains little hint of the twentieth century. Marai killed himself in San Diego in 1989, six months before the collapse of Eastern European Communism; largely ignored before then, his works have been rediscovered since.
New York magazine makes Marai’s long story short. The Complete Review has an awesome collection of links to other reviews. They post their own review as well. Here are reviews from Bob Corbett, Dan Schneider, Danny Yee, Bibliofemme, Andrew Bentley-Steed, Michelle, Chouhrette Sherif, Caribousmom, Eva, Bella Stander, Alok, Jessica Schneider, and Tim. Mary reports on a talk by Carol Janeway, who translated Embers (from German and French translations). Last, but certainly not least, Erik started a Sandor Marai blog which is well worth a look.