An Exclusive Love

An Exclusive Love

By Johanna Adorjan; Anthea Bell (Translator)

W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393080018, 185pp.

Publication Date: January 31, 2011

Two people have grown old together. He is terminally ill, she doesn't want to live without him. One Sunday in autumn, they clean the apartment, leave the dog with a friend, and protect the rose-bushes against the cold of the coming winter. Then they are ready. Tactfully and affectionately, Johanna Adorjan has reconstructed the day of her grandparents' suicide. Vera and Istvan were anything but ordinary. Chain-smoking and glamorous, they exuded the aura of a more elegant age. And they had a past which they did not discuss even within the family. Decades ago they had fled disaster, started a new life in Denmark and so it seemed never looked back. Sixteen years after her grandparents' death, Johanna Adorjan sets out to fill the gaps of their story, in the process discovering unexpected things about herself and her family. Against the backdrop of the horrors of the 20th-century, she brings Vera and Istvan back to life a fascinating couple, peculiarly stylish, stubborn, eccentric. With an extraordinary blend of true reporting and novelistic recreation Johanna Adorjan tries to understand their last and powerful act. Beautifully written, tender but never sentimental, An Exclusive Love is a brilliantly-constructed memoir and a gorgeous romance, a tale of two people who died as they lived: inseparable.

About the Author
Johanna AdorjAn, born in 1971 in Stockholm, has worked as an editor and writer for various newspapers and magazines. A former theater and opera student, she has also written for stage and screen. She lives in Berlin.

Anthea Bell is the recipient of the Schlegel Tieck Prize for translation from German, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize in 2002 for the translation of W. G. Sebald s Austerlitz, and the 2003 Austrian State Prize for Literary Translation. She lives in Cambridge, England.