Portraits of a Marriage by Sandor Marai

By Sandor Marai

A rediscovered masterwork from famed Hungarian novelist Sándor Márai, Portraits of a wedding tracks the lifelong entanglement of a guy and girls haunted by way of category variations and misdirected longings.

Peter and Ilonka are a filthy rich couple whose outwardly excellent marriage is undone by way of secrets and techniques. The insecure Ilonka believes she will by no means be dependent and sophisticated sufficient for her husband, whereas Peter has lengthy been plagued by his forbidden love for Judit, a peasant and servant in his formative years domestic. What Judit longs for many, despite the fact that, is freedom from the restrictions of the society that has ensnared all 3 in a vortex of affection and loss. Set opposed to the backdrop of Hungary among the wars, in a global at the verge of dramatic swap, this beautiful novel bargains additional posthumous facts of Marai’s brilliance.

Translated from the Hungarian via George Szirtes
 

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But I discovered that they did sometimes meet in secret. I spotted them in a café one day. I was just across the street. I felt I’d been stabbed with a sharp object, a knife or a needle: it was a wild, sick feeling. They couldn’t have seen me. They were sitting in one of the booths, my husband speaking, both of them laughing. My husband’s face looked so much like a stranger’s: it was quite changed, nothing like his face at home, the face I knew. I quickly walked on and knew I had gone pale. The blood had drained from me.

I am perfectly aware of this, but I can only understand it in an intellectual way. ” I raised my voice. “That’s the point,” he retorted, his voice slightly shaking. “I’m willing to put up with a lot for the child’s sake. I love the child. ” “And I …” I began, but did not finish. I did not dare tell him that it was the opposite for me, that the child was a vehicle for my love of him. We spoke for a long time that night, with many long silences. Sometimes I think I remember every word. “It’s impossible for a woman to understand.

I sent you his photograph. I know—he was gorgeous. Then I stopped writing to anyone, including you. The child was everything: he was all I lived for: everyone else, close or distant, disappeared. One shouldn’t be allowed to love so intensely. Nor should anyone be the object of such love, not even our own children. Love is the fiercest kind of selfishness. So yes, when the child was born, our correspondence came to an end. You were my dearest friend, but I didn’t need you—not even you—anymore, because the child had arrived.

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