Embers by Sandor Marai


Sandor Marai

The General has invited his former childhood friend to dine with him at his castle exactly as they did 41 years ago, at their last meeting. The purpose is to reveal the truth about their dead friendship. Worked for me both as a novel of suspense and a haunting meditation on time past. First published in Budapest in 1942 - it is amazing it has taken so long to be translated into English.


The Officer of the Guards bent forward as he stared at his son's friend; he seemed to be seeing him for the first time. That evening, when he and his son were alone in the smoking room, he said, 'Konrad will never make a true soldier.'
'Why?' asked his son, shocked.
But he knew his father was right. The Officer of the Guards shrugged his shoulders, lit a cigar, stretched his legs towards the fireplace, and watched the curl of smoke. And then calmly, with the assurance of an expert, he said, 'Because he is a different kind of man.'
His father was long dead and many years had passed before the General understood what he had meant.

  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  • The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert
  • In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Books with similar mood

The Ice Palace

Tarjei Vesaas

The Constant Gardener

John Le Carre

Death Is Hard Work

Khaled Khalifa

Anatomy of a Soldier

Harry Parker

The Mussel Feast

Birgit Vanderbeke

The Cave

Jose Saramago


Anthony Cropper

Song for an Approaching Storm

Peter Fröberg Idling

Say Something Back

Denise Riley

The Memory Stones

Caroline Brothers

Vault - An Anti-novel

David Rose

The Poetry Cure

Julia Darling and Cynthia Fuller (eds)

The Bride from Odessa

Edgardo Cozarinsky

Fugitive Pieces

Anne Michaels

Hikayat: Short Stories by Lebanese Women

Roseanne Saad Khalaf (ed)


Cynan Jones

The Book of Gold Leaves

Mirza Waheed

Underground Time

Delphine de Vigan

American Rust

Philipp Meyer

Echoes from the Dead

Johan Theorin


Marilynne Robinson

Detective Story

Imre Kertesz

Three Day Road

Joseph Boyden

Fragrant Harbour

John Lanchester

The Mariner's Star

Candida Clark

Birthday Letters

Ted Hughes

The Loudest Sound and Nothing

Clare Wigfall


Julia Leigh

The Melody

Jim Crace

The Orange Grove

Larry Tremblay

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Madeleine Thien

The Testament of Mary

Colm Toibin

Past the Shallows

Favel Parrett

Moses, Citizen and Me

Delia Jarrett-Macauley

This Blinding Absence of Light

Tahar Ben Jelloun

The English Years

Norbert Gstein

The Stone of Laughter

Hoda Barakat

The Last Pilot

Benjamin Johncock


Mick Kitson

13 Hours

Narinder Dhami

On Cigarette Papers

Pam Zinnermann-Hope

Bad Boy Brawly Brown

Walter Mosley

Blood Red Rivers

Jean-Christophe Grangé

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

Someone Else

Tonino Benacquista

Purple Hibiscus

Chimamanda Adichie

The Orchard of Lost Souls

Nadifa Mohamed

The Parisian

Isabella Hammad

The Distance

Helen Giltrow