04 January 2011

An Exclusive Love

by Johanna Adorján. Translated from German by Anthea Bell

The Text Publishing Company. Biography. Paperback rrp $27.95.

Johanna Adorján’s grandparents, Vera and István, decided that Sunday, 13th October 1991 would be the day they went to sleep forever.

Vera and István were both Hungarian Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. István had spent years in a labour camp whilst Vera gave birth and looked after two children on forged documents. When the war finished the two found each other again and moved to Denmark to start their life afresh.

Both Vera and István lived for each other, raised a family and then settled into a domestic and comfortable life as grandparents and retirees. They rarely spoke of their former life in Hungary.

Now István has heart trouble and the doctors have only given him a few months to live. Vera could never see herself alone without her István. So they decide to leave this world together, holding hands.

An Exclusive Love is a wonderful story of the lives of two ordinary but still very extraordinary people. Johanna Adorján has created a wonderful book. Although the subject is sad and upsetting, Adorján has also brought to it some uplifting and funny stories of how two people can go about their lives with a very dark idea in the back of their minds. Brilliant.

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