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The first and only memoir from the Nobel Prize-winning author, in the form of an illuminating, often funny, and often combative interview--conducted by the author of himself. Dossier K is Imre Kertész's response to the hasty biographies and profiles that followed his 2002 Nobel Prize, an attempt to set the record straight. But, as befits Kertész, it's a beautifully roundabout way of going straight: Kertész faces and interrogates himself about the issues and events that have long preoccupied him, while also dealing with the questions that really annoy him (such as, "Is your work autobiographical?"). The result is an extraordinary self-portrait, in which Kertész recounts memories of his childhood in Budapest; the years that lead up to the Second World War and his first encounters with anti-Semitism; the incredible forged record of his death in Buchenwald that may in fact have saved his life; his release from the camps and his return to his family; Hungary's Rákosi and Kádár regimes and the terror, hypocrisy, and absurdity they entailed; his thoughts about what other writers have written about the Holocaust; his two marriages; and his long development as a writer. This is a surprising and provocative autobiography that delves into questions about the legacy of the Holocaust, fiction and reality, and what Kertész calls "the wonderful burden of being responsible for yourself.
At the age of 14 Georg Koves is plucked from his home in a Jewish section of Budapest and without any particular malice, placed on a train to Auschwitz. He does not understand the reason for his fate. He doesn't particularly think of himself as Jewish. And his fellow prisoners, who decry his lack of Yiddish, keep telling him, "You are no Jew." In the lowest circle of the Holocaust, Georg remains an outsider. The genius of Imre Kertesz's unblinking novel lies in its refusal to mitigate the strangeness of its events, not least of which is Georg's dogmatic insistence on making sense of what he witnesses-or pretending that what he witnesses makes sense. Haunting, evocative, and all the more horrifying for its rigorous avoidance of sentiment, Fatelessness is a masterpiece in the traditions of Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, and Tadeusz Borowski.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Translated into English at last, Fiasco joins its companion volumes Fatelessness and Kaddish for an Unborn Child in telling an epic story of the author's return from the Nazi death camps, only to find his country taken over by another totalitarian government. Fiasco as Imre Kertesz himself has said, "is fiction founded on reality"--a Kafka-like account that is surprisingly funny in its unrelentingly pessimistic clarity, of the Communist takeover of his homeland. Forced into the army and assigned to escort military prisoners, the protagonist decides to feign insanity to be released from duty. But meanwhile, life under the new regime is portrayed almost as an uninterrupted continuation of life in the Nazi concentration camps-which, in turn, is depicted as a continuation of the patriarchal dictatorship of joyless childhood. It is, in short, a searing extension of Kertesz' fundamental theme: the totalitarian experience seen as trauma not only for an individual but for the whole civilization--ours--that made Auschwitz possible.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The first word in this mesmerizing novel by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature is "No." It is how the novel's narrator, a middle-aged Hungarian-Jewish writer, answers an acquaintance who asks him if he has a child. It is the answer he gave his wife (now ex-wife) years earlier when she told him that she wanted one. The loss, longing and regret that haunt the years between those two "no"s give rise to one of the most eloquent meditations ever written on the Holocaust. As Kertesz's narrator addresses the child he couldn't bear to bring into the world he ushers readers into the labyrinth of his consciousness, dramatizing the paradoxes attendant on surviving the catastrophe of Auschwitz. Kaddish for the Unborn Child is a work of staggering power, lit by flashes of perverse wit and fueled by the energy of its wholly original voice. Translated by Tim Wilkinson. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"There's no such thing as chance...only injustice."From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for "writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history..." The acclaimed Hungarian Holocaust survivor Imre Kertész continues his investigation of the malignant methodologies of totalitarianism in a major work of fiction. In a mysterious middle-European country, a man identified only as "the commissioner" undertakes what seems to be a banal trip to a nondescript town with his wife--a brief detour on the way to a holiday at the seaside--that turns into something ominous. Something terrible has happened in the town, something that no one wants to discuss. With his wife watching on fearfully, he commences a perverse investigation, rudely interrogating the locals, inspecting a local landmark with a frightening intensity, traveling to an outlying factory where he confronts the proprietors ... and slowly revealing a past he's been trying to suppress. In a limpid translation by Tim Wilkinson, this haunting tale lays bare an emotional and psychological landscape ravaged by totalitarianism in one of Kertsz's most devastating examinations of the responsibilities of and for the Holocaust.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"It was...unnecessary for me to fret about who the murderer was: Everybody was."A haunting, never-before-translated, autobiographical novella by the 2002 Nobel Prize winner. An unnamed narrator recounts a simple anecdote, his sighting of the Union Jack--the British Flag--during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, in the few days preceding the uprising's brutal repression by the Soviet army. In the telling, partly a digressive meditation on "the absurd order of chance," he recalls his youthful self, and the epiphanies of his intellectual and spiritual awakening--an awakening to a kind of radical subjectivity. In his Nobel address Kertesz remembered: "I, on a lovely spring day in 1955, suddenly came to the realization that there exists only one reality, and that is me, my own life, this fragile gift bestowed for an uncertain time, which had been seized, expropriated by alien forces, and circumscribed, marked up, branded--and which I had to take back from 'History', this dreadful Moloch, because it was mine and mine alone..."The Contemporary Art of the Novella series is designed to highlight work by major authors from around the world. In most instances, as with Imre Kertész, it showcases work never before published; in others, books are reprised that should never have gone out of print. It is intended that the series feature many well-known authors and some exciting new discoveries. And as with the original series, The Art of the Novella, each book is a beautifully packaged and inexpensive volume meant to celebrate the form and its practitioners.
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