An Exclusive Love: A Memoir by Johanna Adorján

By Johanna Adorján

A well known cultural journalist provides a rare 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 eternally unique; they survived the Holocaust, fled Budapest through the rebellion of 1956, and lived a glamorous and mysterious existence in Denmark—their pasts by no means mentioned, even in the relations. An particular Love is Adorján's poignant and loving reconstruction of what can have occurred at the day in their deaths, whilst Adorján used to be simply twenty. Investigating the wealthy and striking tale in their lives, Adorján finds the compromises they made and dangers they took, and what it intended for her family. This memoir tells of a couple's extravagant devotion to one another, and their granddaughter's later discovery of advanced personalities, long-buried relatives secrets and techniques, and why they eventually determined, jointly, to take their very own lives. W. G. Sebald's translator Anthea Bell renders Adorján's brilliantly built, powerfully concise memoir with gorgeous readability. fantastically written, delicate yet by no means sentimental, An particular Love is a vibrant portrait of a real twentieth-century couple. .

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Extra resources for An Exclusive Love: A Memoir

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They did it not out of hatred, but fear—a natural, if not a particularly commendable, response. Threatened by similar dangers, victims from other nations behaved in the same way. It was a human, not a Jewish, reaction, made ironic by the fact that in the closing days of the deportations, the Jewish police and their families were themselves shipped off to Treblinka. Ringelblum's rhetorical questions reflect the despair of a man who has witnessed the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of his people.

We are confined, consumed by the moment of the narrative which is not a moment in sequential time, mesmerized by duration until chronology disappears from consciousness. These segments of testimony enable us to experience the effects of Holocaust duration as no other form of expression can. Hearing testimony, we are in the presence of a past that has not been and cannot be effaced, a moment re-presented to us rather than represented, since, as Lyotard insists, only that which has been inscribed or represented (in word or image or form) can be forgotten.

There was no room to get around them. Besides fighting the Germans, we fought hunger, and thirst. We had no contact with the outside world; we were completely isolated, cut off from the world. 18 That search for meaning was complicated by Rotem's description of the situation outside the ghetto: "In Aryan Warsaw, life went on as naturally and normally as before. The cafes operated normally, the restaurants, buses, streetcars, and movies were open. "19 And there it will remain throughout history, unless we allow it to penetrate our consciousness and shatter the rhetorical shield of heroism that protects us.

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