Jess's Book Club Pick for October: Embers, by Sándor Márai
By M&C News Sep 30, 2007, 15:32 GMT
In Sándor Márai\'s Embers, two old men, once the best of friends, meet after a 41-year break in their relationship. They dine together, taking the same places at the table that they had assumed on the last meal they shared, then sit beside each other in front of a dying fire, one of them nearly silent, the other one, his host, slowly and deliberately tracing the ...more
Jess’s book club selection for the October month is Embers, by Sándor Márai published by Knopf. The publisher’s website can be found here. They also publish Fire in the Blood by Irène Némirovsky which I'll be reviewing this month.
Many people have said they don’t get enough good recommendations of classic books so read, and so that’s why we’re here. We’re picking them for you. Feel free to use these questions in your own book club discussions. Readers are also welcome to submit their own book club questions. Those readers whose questions are selected for further questions for the book club may receive a free copy of the book from the publisher.
M&C has worked out an arrangement with the publisher where those readers who submit the most well thought out questions about the book can then earn a free copy of the book for themselves or to pass on to a friend who can start their own clubs. Who decides? The book M&C Books Editors do. Your questions can get as complex as you like.
Questions can be submitted to: jessica.schneider at monstersandcritics dot com. Only serious questions will be considered. No silly ones please, even if they are funny and give me a good chuckle. It's just spam and your email will be deleted. Ditto goes for nasty ones. Be nice. Only questions submitted via email will be posted in the comments section. All questions that are submitted directly to the comments section, or any 'comments' that are not questions, will be deleted. We love it that you love the book, but the comments are for selected questions to be added to Jess's Book Club's official questions.
If you don't hear back from me, that does not mean you did not earn a book. We have to see how the month plays out and then I will compare and make my decision on which questions I think were the most thoughtful. And by 'thoughtful' I don't mean in the touchy-feely sense. You know what I mean. In the email, please include first and last name, as well as your real world address. These will not be posted online in the comments section, only the questioner's first name. Winner's names and addresses will be forwarded on to the publisher, who will ship them a copy to get their real world book clubs going.
As we start this, perhaps all the questioners will get books, but depending upon future success, only the more intriguing, penetrating and deep questions may be rewarded with a free book from the publisher. Below, you will see ten questions about the book that readers can discuss. Many thanks for those who participated last month.
So here we go:
1) What does the narrative structure of the book reveal about perceptions?
2) How does the past influence the characters’ present?
3) How would the story have been different if told from Konrad’s point of view over the General’s?
4) How does the love triangle in Embers differ from love triangles in other stories?
5) How is the General shown as an imperious character? Does he seem to have any empathy?
6) A good portion of the novel is the General’s soliloquy. How would the story differ if told from an omniscient point of view?
7) The book is a drama of manners—since these 2 main characters are remnants of the old Austrian/Hungarian Empire. How would the story play out if set in modern times?
8) How does the friendship between the two men change? Is there more to it than just a woman involved?
9) What does the General’s long-term relationship with Nini say about his character?
10) Ultimately the General knows the answers to all his questions. Why has he waited 4 decades to confront Konrad?