Monday, January 16, 2012
An Exclusive Love
This is a memoir by Johanna Adorjan describing the double suicide of her grandparents - I suppose not surprisingly it's very depressing. The author's grandparents were Hungarian Holocaust survivors who fled to Denmark during the Hungarian revolution in the 1950s. The couple rarely spoke of their wartime experiences or their escape to Denmark and the author interviews friends and family members to try to piece together what happened. She also envisions her grandparents' last day based on notes and gifts left behind, discussions with the few people who knew or suspected they were contemplating suicide (including a physician) and the police report. For me the most depressing part is that the author must come to terms with the selfishness of her grandparents' suicide (planned because her grandfather was terminally ill though her grandmother was physically healthy). They gave very limited thought to the impact it would have on their children and grandchildren. The title really describes the couple well - an "exclusive love" as her grandmother felt she was loved only by her husband and did not want to go on without him which overpowered any feelings she had for her descendants.