The Rebels

Sandor Marai, Author, George Szirtes, Translator , trans. from the Hungarian by George Szirtes. Knopf $24.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-375-40757-4

First published in 1930, this lugubrious novel is the third by Hungarian novelist Márai (1900–1989) to be translated into English in the last decade. Four class of 1918 students expect to be in uniform and at the front by the end of the summer. Over the course of their last year of school, they have played an elaborate game of thievery, stealing petty cash and useless items—mostly from their own families—and storing the purloined objects in rooms rented from a local inn, to which they repair after lunch to "continue playing at childhood." By the end of the school year, however, the game has escalated beyond their control; Tibor Prockauer, the most aristocratic of the group, has pawned the family silver, and the gang (including grocer's son Béla, doctor's son Ábel and poor cobbler's son Ernõ) has no means to recover it. The war as a malevolent backdrop to the students' desperate game makes their plight vivid, but the characters themselves are less so. By the time Márai's moody, uneven narration gives way to the students' long-winded confessions, the novel's seams are clearly visible. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/22/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-375-70741-4
Hardcover - 278 pages - 978-0-330-45454-4
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-330-45455-1
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