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Fiasco Paperback – March 22, 2011
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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—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."
"An unforgettable novel...a project with strong Kafkaesque and Camus-charged themes."
--Reinhard Baumgart, Die Zeit (Germany)
About the Author
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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Despite this, much of his writing remains unpublished in English.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.