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Fatelessness Paperback – December 7, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“In his writing Imre Kertesz explores the possibility of continuing to live and think as an individual in an era in which the subjection of human beings to social forces has become increasingly completeÉ. upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history.” --The Swedish Academy, The Nobel Prize in Literature 2002
“[S]hould be savored slowly . . . Only through exploring its subtlety and detail will the reader come to appreciate such an ornate and honest testimony to the human spirit.” —The Washington Times
Top Customer Reviews
These words of Goethe provide the emotional context within which I experienced Imre Kertész' masterful novel Fateless.
Kertesz was an assimilated Hungarian-Jew living in relative comfort in Budapest. In the summer of 1944 he was picked up and shipped to Auschwitz. He was fourteen years old. He was transferred from Auschwitz to Buchenwald, from Buchenwald to Zeitz (a lesser-known concentration camp) and then back to Buchenwald. He was liberated a year later and returned to Budapest.
The life of György (George) Köves, the protagonist of Fateless, tracks the experiences of Kertesz. The novel is written in George's voice and we see the world through his recollection of events. (Kertesz has indicated in interviews that although Fateless takes the form of an autobiographical novel it is not an autobiography but a work of fiction.) George is a relatively care free, naive 14 year old leading a middle class life with his family. As the story opens, the family is preparing to say goodbye to George's father who is being sent to a labor camp. I was struck immediately by George's detachment as these early events unfold. George obtains a job at a factory. This provides him with a pass out of his neighborhood although he is still required to wear a yellow star identifying him as Jewish. One morning, on the way to work, he is swept up along with thousands of others and is sent on his journey into the seven layers of hell known as concentration camps. The rest of novel details George's experiences in the camps, his gradual physical deterioration that leaves him near death, the chain of events that kept him alive, his liberation and his eventual return to Budapest.Read more ›
At the time the story is going on, it is 1944 and a Jewish boy is departed to a Nazi concentration camp along with his father. The book gives a different perspective of the horror, because it is written in an "I" form. As a reviewer mentioned before, this is not a "Life Is Beautiful" story. This is a "Life Is Horrible" story and it is a shocking experience you will never forget. Though the book is not about the writer himself, Kertesz experienced much of the story.
The book is never boring and makes you going on with the things to come - most of them unexpected and even more horrible than the ones before. Imre Kertesz survived this mayhem and he is the living proof of fate, even though this book's title is Fateless. It could only be fate that saved him and the survivors of the darkest times of the 20th century.
The only shame: he is not well known in his home country. Many Hungarian writers say: Hungary is a "language island" with a language barrier that can't be put down. I hope Kertesz's success shows every writer in the world that language can't be a barrier. Good stories make a writer. And if they're true - as this is case with Fateless - they can make very good writers. I recommend this book everyone with a heart and soul.
The story is told through the eyes of a 15 year old. He enters the camps not knowing what to expect, and he has no idea that an organized extermination is taking place. He never seems to take too much personally, but instead simply treats each new situation as something to be dealt with and survived. His journey through the camps becomes part of his childhood that he does not want to forget, because doing so would mean forgetting part of his life. It is as if he is thinking that other people get to remember their childhoods, so why can't I.
After returning from the camps after being liberated, Kertesz recalls a conversation with a relative who keeps talking about 'the fate of the Jews'. I think this conversation is the main point of the book. Kertesz feels that if fate is a reality, then life is not worth living, because of the implied predetermination. Kertesz rejects any notion of 'fate', preferring to live each day, even in the camps, as though tomorrow will bring a new day to be lived.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous writing, thought provoking..But what else would you expect from Nobel prize winning author?Published 5 days ago by Melissa Bristow
Totally moving! Different from other concentration camp book. Very personal.Published 6 days ago by Maria Clara Ospina
I almost felt guilty when I stopped reading the book. I have read a great deal of non-fiction and some fiction Holocaust books. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Packrat
Classic book of the "fate" of many from a young boy's perspective. When it ended I wanted to read more about his life.Published 2 months ago by Flynnbean
If you have an afternoon to read this book from beginning to end, please do so. Would not adapt very well to cinematic treatment.Published 2 months ago by St Bartholomew
An interesting approach for examining the daily lives of prisoners of the Nazis. Worth reading . Sentence structure was problematic for me as they were very long and cumbersome.Published 2 months ago by Poodley
Unusual first person account of Holocaust. Beautifully translated prosePublished 2 months ago by Ecisok55
Fascinating , matter-of-fact take on the trauma and horrors of concentration camps & work camps through the eyes of an adolescent boy.Published 2 months ago by Dorothea Braginsky
The man, the author, the existentialist, the phenomenologist says, in his work, that which he lives and that which is available for us all. Read morePublished 3 months ago by fredricr21