The Rebels, By Sándor Márai

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The Independent Culture

In a quiet town stripped of hope by the Great War, four adolescents form a gang. Their "secret and secure comradeship" against parents, teachers and burghers promises thrills - and risks. This latest rediscovery from the author of Embers shows the Hungarian master as a sinister spellbinder, conjuring an eve-of-apocalypse mood that fuses lyrical intensity – well caught by translator George Szirtes – with jolting glimpses of depravity. The doom, of course, belongs to the society beyond a town "accustomed to war" – but Márai's wider vision never detracts from the shock and suspense of his grim finale.