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.