Bibliofemme Bookclub An Irish Bookclub

January 10, 2012

Embers by Sandor Marai

Filed under: Bookclub Books,General Fiction — The Connoisseur @ 3:07 pm
Embers Book Cover Embers
Sandor Marai

Meeting: Saturday 29th January 2005

Two best friends grow up together in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 1900s. As young boys, they were inseparable in the military academy. The boy from the privileged background was destined to become Army General and the other, well, he was always destined to be different, and never did quite fit the military mould. The rich lad pleasured in hunting while the poor boy had a deep affinity for music.

Following the young General’s marriage, the close friendship between the two men continued unabated, until one day, something happened which changed everything. The music-loving friend disappeared and the General remains behind to mull things over, the event consumed him. Finally, after 41 years of mulling, the friend returned and the pair were reunited. The General had a lot to get off his chest, which, while getting closure for him, sadly did little for the reader.

While the scenes are beautifully depicted and the concept original, the book is ultimately boring. It did give food for a good discussion and the femmes that read it in one or two sittings did gain a lot more pleasure than those of us who read it in fits and starts. The Connoisseur 2/5


Score awarded by Bibliofemme: 2.3 out of 5

What the other femmes had to say

The DJ “The acclaim for this book is predicated on the exchanges between two old friends and an impending revelation, but the characters – like the revelation itself – are uninteresting and a let down. Very disappointing.” 2/5

The Techie “Although parts of this book really grabbed my attention the ending let it down. The experience of having recently read Schopenhauer’s Telescope, which is a similar and better book (dialogue between two men) only served to increase my disappointment.” 3/5

The Writer “Like an exercise in delayed gratification, without the gratification. Marai’s evocative description produced some memorable images but it certainly slumped in the middle and left me frustrated at the end.” 3/5

The Filmmakerr “I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering, thinking about the production design and art direction challenges if Embers were to be given a screenplay treatment. Poor delivery of suspense and character development made me lose interest within the first few chapters and the ending was hugely disappointing.” 2/5

The Artist “Though the theme of the nature of friendship could have been fascinating, unfortunately it was disadvantaged by needlessly protracted monodrama. Perhaps the gothic contemplation lost something in translation.” 2/5

The Gardener “At the height of this novel’s ‘climax’ I found myself wondering if the sheets should be taken in from the line outside. The only thing that remains with me from these pages is some beautiful Austrian scenery and unfortunately, that’s not enough.” 2/5

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