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Alfred A. Knopf, 2004 - Fiction - 129 pages
A masterly new novel from the 2002 Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature: the story of a Hungarian writer whose death forces his circle of friends to confront their own terrible moment in history.

Ten years have passed since the fall of Communism. B.–a writer of high literary reputation whose birth and survival in Auschwitz defied all probability–has taken his own life. Among his papers, his friend Kingbitter discovers a play titled Liquidation in which he reads an eerie foretelling of the personal and political crises that he and B.’s other friends now face: having survived the Holocaust and the years of Communist rule, having experienced the surge of hopefulness that rose from the rubble of the Wall, they are left with little but a sense of chaos and an utter loss of identity.

Kingbitter, desperate to understand his friend’s suicide, begins a furious search for the novel he believes might be among B.’s papers and might provide the key. But the search takes him in unexpected directions: deep into his own memories and into those of B.’s ex-wife, Judith, the hidden corners of their lives revealed–to themselves and to us–at the same time as the mystery of B.’s life is slowly unraveled.

An intricately layered story of history and humanity–powerful, disturbing, lyrical, achingly suspenseful, brilliantly told.

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User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

This is great, as theory, and certainly stimulating: the horrors of Auschwitz are not simply held up as a banal ethical imperative, not mawkishly hawked, not made into an occasion for liberal self ... Read full review

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User Review  - FPdC - LibraryThing

The sense of loss that a group of friends feel for their dead companion is compound by their sense of loss in post-communist Hungary, and by the quest of one of them (Kingbitter, the main character of ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Imre Kertész, who was born in 1929 and imprisoned in Auschwitz and Buchenwald as a youth, worked as a journalist and playwright before publishing Fatelessness, his first novel, in 1975. He is the author of Looking for a Clue, Detective Story, The Failure, The Union Jack, Kaddish for an Unborn Child, and A Galley-Slave’s Journal. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002. He lives in Budapest and Berlin.

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