Fatelessness: A Novel

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Vintage International, 2004 - Fiction - 262 pages
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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.

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About the author (2004)

Imre Kertész, 1929 - Imre Kertész was born in Budapest in 1929. With 7,000 other Hungarian Jews he was deported in 1944, at the age of fifteen, from Budapest to Auschwitz and liberated a year later at Buchenwald. Starting in 1948, he worked in Hungary as a journalist with the daily Világosság. He was dismissed in 1951 and conscripted into the army for two years. Since 1953 Kertész has been living as a freelance writer and translator of German literature from Nietzsche to Freud. His first book, "Novel of a Man Without Destiny," was at first rejected by a state publishing company. It appeared in a limited edition in 1975 under the title "Man Without Destiny." It was denied all publicity. During the decades that he worked on this autobiographical novel, Kertész supported himself by writing light pieces for the theatre. The novel appeared in German in 1990. Galley Diary published in 1992, covers the years 1961 to 1991. In his novel "Fiasco," published in 1988, the hero, a journalist, bears the unmistakable traits of the author. Lastly, "Kaddish for an Unborn Child" was published in German in 1992, completing his trilogy. In 1998 Kertész presented a second diary, "I, A Different Person" which documented the years from 1991 to 1995. With fellow writer, Péter Esterházy he published a volume of stories, "A Story, Two Stories" in 1994. Kertész was awarded the Brandenburg Literature Prize in 1995, The Book Prize for European Understanding, Leipzig 1997, the Darmstadt Academy Prize in 1997, the Order "pour le mérite," the World Literature Prize for 2000 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in October of 2002.

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