“On 13 October 1991 my grandparents killed themselves. It was a Sunday. Not really the ideal day for a suicide.” (p. 1)
In this beautifully translated slip of a book, Adorján attempts to recreate the day her grandparents, Vera and Pista, committed suicide; what they did, what they might have thought, what they may have said. In between, she relays the story of their lives through her own recollections and interviews she conducts with family and friends.
Vera and Pista were an aristocratic, elegant, music-loving, engaging but slightly aloof Jewish couple who survived the Holocaust, the Korean War, and relocation to a new country. Theirs was a love that had endured hardship and sorrow, but was so powerful and strong that they could not bear to be parted by death.
As I neared the end of the book, I found myself becoming more and more emotional. It’s crazy, because from the first sentence you know what’s going to happen, but the more you get to know Vera and Pista, the more tragic their decision becomes. You want her to be stronger. You want there to be another option. It’s all come about too quickly and there’s nothing you can to to stop it.
I thought author Elizabeth Berg put it best. In praise for An Exclusive Love she said Adorján’s work is “neither sentimental not judgmental, [but] offers a prism through which one might examine and perhaps come to understand a most complicated act.”