Picador £7.99 (148pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Esther's Inheritance, By Sándor Márai
Esther is preparing to meet her former lover, Lajos, twenty years after he revealed himself to be a fantasist and thief who married her more beautiful sister, Vilma.
In spite of it all, Esther, now a middle-aged spinster, acknowledges she may not yet have exorcised her passion: "When I looked in the mirror, I saw a woman waiting for her lover."
She suspects he will not have changed yet she cannot resist. This novella, written by Hungarian-born Márai, whose work was"rediscovered" in the 1990s, (translated by George Szirtes) is an astounding portait of the most ardent - and diabolical - aspects of love.
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