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Kaddish for an Unborn Child

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
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
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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
Product Details
Paperback (132 pages)
Published: November 9, 2004
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9781400078622
Other books byImre Kertesz
  • Liquidation

    Liquidation
    Imre Kert?sz’s savagely lyrical and suspenseful new novel traces the continuing echoes the Holocaust and communism in the consciousness of contemporary Eastern Europe. Ten years after the fall of communism, a writer named B. commits suicide, devastating his circle and deeply puzzling his friend Kingsbitter. For among B.’s effects, Kingsbitter finds a play that eerily predicts events after his death. Why did B.–who was born at Auschwitz and miraculously survived–take his life? As Kingsbitter searches for the answer –and for the novel he is convinced lies hidden among his friend’s papers–Liquidation becomes an inquest into the deeply compromised inner life of a generation. The result is moving, revelatory and haunting.

    Detective Story

    Detective Story
    From Nobel Laureate Imre Kertész comes this riveting novel about a torturer for the secret police of a Latin American regime who tells the haunting story of the father and son he ensnared and destroyed. Now in prison, Antonio Martens is a torturer for a recently defunct dictatorship. He requests and is given writing materials in his cell, using them to narrate his involvement in the torture and assassination of a wealthy and prominent man and his son whose principled but passive opposition to the regime left them vulnerable to the secret police. Inside Martens's mind, we inhabit the rationalizing world of evil and see firsthand the inherent danger of inertia during times of crisis. A slim, explosive novel of justice railroaded by malevolence, Detective Story is a warning cry for our time.

    Fiasco

    Fiasco
    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.

    The Pathseeker

    The Pathseeker
    "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.

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