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By Johanna Adorján
A well known cultural journalist provides a unprecedented account of her grandparents by way of reconstructing, hour through hour, the day in their suicide.
Johanna Adorján's grandparents have been unconventionally stylish and perpetually unique; they survived the Holocaust, fled Budapest in the course of the rebellion of 1956, and lived a glamorous and mysterious existence in Denmark—their pasts by no means mentioned, even in the relations. An unique Love is Adorján's poignant and loving reconstruction of what can have occurred at the day in their deaths, while Adorján used to be simply twenty. Investigating the wealthy and astonishing tale in their lives, Adorján finds the compromises they made and hazards they took, and what it intended for her circle of relatives. This memoir tells of a couple's extravagant devotion to one another, and their granddaughter's later discovery of complicated personalities, long-buried relatives secrets and techniques, and why they eventually made up our minds, jointly, to take their very own lives. W. G. Sebald's translator Anthea Bell renders Adorján's brilliantly developed, powerfully concise memoir with beautiful readability. fantastically written, gentle yet by no means sentimental, An unique Love is a vibrant portrait of a real twentieth-century couple. .
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Extra resources for An Exclusive Love: A Memoir
It was a common saying that every Berliner is from Breslau, obviously hyperbole, though it happened to fit my mother, who was born in Breslau and moved to Berlin after her marriage in 1922. In the 1880s Theodor Fontane, poet, historian, critic, novelist, the most interesting German writer between Goethe and Mann, observed that what made Berlin great was its ethnic mix: the offspring of the Huguenots, the provincials who streamed into the city from the surrounding province of Brandenburg, and the Jews.
For one thing, we were yoked together by closely twisted family ties. Samuel Fröhlich, born in 1885, was my father’s uncle, and his wife, Tante Hedwig (known as Hede), was my mother’s oldest sister. In fact, my parents had met at Onkel Samuel and Tante Hede’s wedding. They lived near us, even nearer from 1936 on than before. Their two sons, Hanns, three years older than I, and Edgar, my age, were my constant companions. We would have been close even without the Nazis’ coming to power, for, like many middle-class families, we lived much with one another.
Whatever the truth of this pseudoscientific lore, it applied to my parents. I never heard a cross word, never saw a cross look between them. The product of a genteel girls’ school, my mother played the piano passably and with evident enjoyment. She was petite and very slight, with lovely eyes, the undisputed beauty in the family. Her health was uncertain, however; consistently underweight, more than once she resorted to a clinic to fatten up. Then, in the 1930s, she contracted tuberculosis. More than that, she was plagued by psychosomatic illnesses, which left their mark on me.
An Exclusive Love: A Memoir by Johanna Adorján