With age, it seems, we begin to accept that our desires have found and will find no real echo in the world. "The people we love do not love us, or not in the way we hope." So of Konrad [the ~antagonist of Sándor Márai's novel Embers] Henrik demands no more than the truth. . . . Konrad makes no response. At dawn he departs. The last page is turned, the revolver remains unused.