Absolute love

Johanna Adorjàn

€ 15,00
Publisher: Cairo Editore
Collection: Scrittori stranieri
Pages: 192
ISBN/EAN: 978-88-6052-405-8

This is the story of a man and a woman who loved each other all their lives; they grew old together and together they decided to die. On a Sunday in the autumn of 1991 this husband and wife, hand in hand, go to meet their end; thus writing the appropriate epilogue to an absolute love. István, a well-known retired orthopaedist, a mild and dreamy music lover, is weakening day after day from a underhanded illness.

Vera, his provident and decisive wife, a woman of innate elegance and brusque ways, sets up their end without a moment of self-pity: she cleans the house until it shines, prunes the roses for the winter, takes the dog to a neighbour, carefully chooses the lace nightgown she wants to be found in, and does not abstain from the usual benevolent conjugal skirmishes. She acts with the solemnity, the meticulousness and the calm of a Grand Master of Ceremonies. Because Vera and István, Hungarian Jews who survived the Shoah, then emigrated in a fantastic series of moves to Denmark after the events of ’56, are bound by a years-old pact to die together. And at this point, in an act of post-humus love, their grand-daughter Johanna dives body and soul into the all-consuming endeavour of reconstructing step by step, almost with the empathy of a medium, the last hours of their existence.

A tight-rope walker’s feat on the thin crest that separates affection, nostalgia, admiration and anger about an abandonment that causes her to suffer and which she feels is unjust. How can people who have gone through similar experiences choose to take their lives? How can they not think of their children and the children of their children?

Twenty years after that Sunday in autumn, Johanna decides to gracefully break into the ancient reserve of her grandparents who never wanted to speak about their past during their lives. With a minimal style that is never rhetorical or sentimental, Johanna brings Vera and István back to life. She «gets to know them again» through the memories of those who were there. While whoever reads this now becomes involved in an event hovering between incursions into private life and raids into the anguished territories where the blind power of Evil operated.

The author
Johanna Adorján was born in 1971 in Stockholm of a German mother and Hungarian father. She studied opera and theatre directing in Germany. Since 1995 she has been a journalist and since 2001 she has been writing for the FrankfurterAllgemeine Zeitung. She lives in Berlin.

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