I pressed my hands to my heart. I felt dizzy again, as I always do when I step out of the shadow world of pointless watching and waiting and come face-to-face with reality. How much simpler reality is!
I can’t quite figure out if I like Sandor Marai’s novels or not. Earlier this year, I read Embers, and I also rated it 3.5/5. I thought parts of it were beautifully written, while other parts dragged. The monologues in that book went on and on and on… Also, the translation was from Hungarian to German to English, and I think something was definitely ‘lost in translation.’ Anyway, although I rated Esther’s Inheritance the same, I do believe I prefer it slightly. The translation of Esther is directly from the original Hungarian.
Just as in Embers, the crux of the novel is a confrontation. Esther is in her mid 40’s and lives only with a female relative. It seems that she (and much of her family) have been ripped off (in the nicest way possible) by Lajos the Liar. Now, several years later, he’s come back to visit, and we get the expected confrontation between them.
We hear the details of their past, learn about misunderstandings and miscommunications, and wonder if Esther is being suckered again by his charms or if Lajos really has some legitimate excuses. Just as in Embers, the ending didn’t quite satisfy, but I’ve begun to realize that maybe that was the point of both stories after all.
1939 [2008 for the English translation], 148 pp.