Our pick for Friday Book Club this week is Johanna Adorján’s powerful and haunting memoir, An Exclusive Love.
Vera and Pista, Johanna’s grandparents, are Hungarian Jews. Glamorous, chain-smoking Vera and her devoted doctor husband survived the Holocaust and escaped to Denmark to raise their family. Decades later, with Pista in bad health, they make the decision to take their own lives, together. Johanna was 20.
The book chronicles how Johanna imagines her grandparents spent their final hours: making toast, drinking tea, small moments imbued with emotional significance at the knowledge that this will be the last time they perform these domestic rituals.
Johanna has relied on interviews with those who knew her grandparents at all stages of their lives, as well as her own memories of the charismatic and elegant pair, to create a work of great intelligence and emotional resonance.
We have notes for you to download and share with your reading groups from our resources page. Recent interviews with Johanna in the Atlantic and the Globe and Mail might give you further ideas for topics of discussion on An Exclusive Love.