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Fiasco Paperback – March 22, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Heroic....Kertész is unique in Holocaust literature....[H]e seems to flaunt the thoughts and feelings that contradict the accepted narrative."
Nan Goldberg, The Boston Globe

"[A] powerful book.... If Fatelessness was written with a bright mock-naivety that led to comparisons with Candide, and Kaddish employed the harsh comic rant of Thomas Bernhard, then the presiding ghosts of Fiasco are clearly Beckett and Kafka, those 20th-century masters of confusion and despair."
Adam Kirsch, Tablet Magazine

"[O]ne of the best renderings of what it must have been like to survive a Nazi murder camp."
—The Los Angeles Times

"Fiasco
plays with the art of bearing witness with great risk and proclaims the magnitude of what's becoming an endangered species, the individual, whose death in this century has been repeatedly proclaimed, celebrated and here, denied."
--Hans-Harald Muller, Die Welt (Germany)

"We knew Imre Kertesz capable of dry wit  in the most horrific moments, but his representation of the socialist world reveals a great sense of humor that we did not know about...here we all laugh. And we laugh intelligently."
--L'Express (France)

"An unforgettable novel...a project with strong Kafkaesque and Camus-charged themes."
--Reinhard Baumgart, Die Zeit (Germany)

About the Author

Imre Kertesz was born in Hungary in 1929. At the age of fourteen he was imprisoned at Auschwitz and later at Buchenwald concentration camps. He is the author of 14 books of fiction and non-fiction, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002 for "writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history." He lives in Berlin.

Tim Wilkinson
is the primary English translator of Imre Kertesz. His translations include Kaddish for an Unborn Child, Liquidation, The Pathseeker and The Union Jack as well as numerous other significant works of Hungarian history and literature. His translations of Kertesz's Fatelessness was awarded the PEN Club Translation Prize. He lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935554298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935554295
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Imre Kertész won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002. His most famous novel, Fatelessness, has quietly sold many copies, and he is, for a growing community of readers, the most powerful European writer still living.

Despite this, much of his writing remains unpublished in English. Brooklyn based indie press Melville House began to correct this with the publication of several novellas, most notably The Union Jack in 2010. Last month, Melville House published his novel Fiasco, completing the conceptual trilogy begun with Fatelessness and Kaddish for an Unborn Child.

When asked to describe Kertész's writing, I usually say he is like Kafka, after Auschwitz. This is an indecent description (though Fiasco is the most Kafkaesque of all his novels), but it is the closet I can come to capturing the darkness and humor and irony of Kertész. Fiasco is a terrifying and occasionally hilarious look at life in Soviet Hungary, told first by an anonymous author (ostensibly Kertész himself) and later by Koves, the protagonist of the anonymous author's novel. Looming over every paragraph is the question of how lived experience of totalitarianism relates to writing about totalitarianism and the imperative of the writer to write, even in the face of extreme or changing conditions.

Fiasco is as powerful as Fatelessness and deserves to be read just as widely.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This Fiasco is not for light entertainment, but it is a masterpiece worthy of the effort it demands of the reader. It reminded me at first of Tristrum Shandy who couldn't seem to finish getting down a flight of steps as he contemplates the absurdities of life, The absurdities Kertesz contemplates place the small fiasco in his personal and professional life within the context of the Holocaust and Stalin's Russia. It is a story within a story within the ultimate story which taken as a whole is breathtaking.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
AMAZING!
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It's not narrated because it's a work of economics and political science, not a story with a conventional plot. You didn't give me much time to read the book, I'm only 1/2 through it.
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