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. 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. Account Options Sign in. Top charts. New arrivals.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Tim Wilkinson Translator. At the age of 14 Georg Koves is plucked from his home in a Jewish section of Budapest and without any particular malice, placed on a train to Auschwitz. He does not understand the reason for his fate.
Haunting, evocative, and all the more horrifying for its rigorous avoidance of sentiment, Fatelessness is a masterpiece in the traditions of Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, and Tadeusz Borowski.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published December 7th by Vintage International first published More Details Original Title. The Holocaust. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Fatelessness , please sign up.
Has it been written by a real story or an invented story? Griesgundel van Feldenfloeven Looking at the author's biography it is clear that this novel is based on his life. Orsi it can easily be lost in translation from hungarian, but the original title translated literally would definitely be "fatelessness", i just think it l …more it can easily be lost in translation from hungarian, but the original title translated literally would definitely be "fatelessness", i just think it looks and sounds a bit weird, the original hungarian word has punch to it, it is a really strong word, and the way fatelessness sounds doesn't really convey the original title i think?
See 2 questions about Fatelessness…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Fatelessness. Oct 23, Steven Godin rated it liked it Shelves: holocaust , world-war-two , nobel-laureates , history , hungary. Fatelessness, the quasi-autobiographical novel and reworking of Kertesz's own experiences at Auschwitz and other camps during WW2 is narrated by Gyuri, an awkward, and I have to say not fully likeable year-old Jewish boy from Budapest, who suffers from the usual teenage sensations of estrangement and diffidence, and is at a highly sensitive age to endure such tyranny and his response is to rationalise everything.
His tone is formal, dispassionate, his story peppered with evasions and disclaim Fatelessness, the quasi-autobiographical novel and reworking of Kertesz's own experiences at Auschwitz and other camps during WW2 is narrated by Gyuri, an awkward, and I have to say not fully likeable year-old Jewish boy from Budapest, who suffers from the usual teenage sensations of estrangement and diffidence, and is at a highly sensitive age to endure such tyranny and his response is to rationalise everything.
His tone is formal, dispassionate, his story peppered with evasions and disclaimers such as 'naturally' and 'in all fairness'. Despite the gravity of its heavy subject, the narrative is punctuated with bursts of adolescent facetiousness, and is almost told as if he were still in total denial of what's going on around him. After his father is taken away, he would take his own train ride into a hellish world he doesn't yet realise. Gyuri arrives at Auschwitz deluded that it will be a normal work camp and marvels at the emaciated criminals.
Before noticing strange chimneys, and a smell in the air he can't quite make out. He describes his situation almost scientifically, and there is a marked lack of compassion to his thinking. There is even the argument he would have made a good Nazi.
He sizes up fellow inmates with disgust and feels no affinity what so ever with other Hungarians, and even less so with other Jews.
He simply does what is necessary to endure and survive. In places though it felt more like a holiday camp to him than one run by the Nazi regime, and apart from hunger pains, and the time he got some wounds infected whilst at Buchenwald, there was little else that made me feel the plight of his ordeal. Gyuri's tragedy is his failure to fully accept the meaninglessness of Nazi brutality. But then this could also be seen as his triumph. By focusing perversely, on the so called 'happiness' of the camps, rather than on the atrocities, he is somehow victorious in winning the battle of the mind, leaving him less traumatized when he finally returned home.
Considering this was Kertesz's debut novel, it was an accomplished piece of writing. However, and disappointingly for me, as a piece of Holocaust literature, it didn't hurt, and struggled to really get under my skin.
I expected to pained by the horrors, haunted by the suffering, kicked where it hurts, have my blood chilled, make me feel something at least. But no, hardly anything.
On a harrowing level compared to other books I have read on the same subject including Tadeusz Borowski's 'This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen' it all came across as pretty tame.
Maybe he witnessed such horrors but chose to exclude the worst bits from his novel. I would rather they would have been included. As there is nothing comfortable about Holocaust experiences, and yet I sat there, comfortable. Through the middle sections based at the camps I never truly got the sense that right around the corner mass exterminations were being carried out.
There is no denying this is a work worthy of merit, but it wasn't the book I was hoping for, as it never really hit me with any real significant power. But at least it's another unread Nobel laureate I can now tick of the list. View all 16 comments. Jul 01, David rated it it was ok Shelves: much-ado-about-nothing. While he was there, I have no doubt that he suffered a great deal—both physically and psychologically—so I was understandably, I think hesitant to dislike his semi-autobiographical Holocaust novel Fatelessness.
It seems at the very least very inconsiderate of me to criticize his book for failing to 'entertain' me. Entertainment is a strange, nebulous word. Are we entertained in whatever sense when we watch The Sorrow and the Pity? How about when we read Elie Wiesel's Night?
I would argue that, yes, we are. Admittedly this is an entertainment only dimly related to that alleged enjoyment afforded by a rerun of The King of Queens , but it is a diversion that intends to please its audience. Now don't only think of pleasing as giving an audience what it asks for, but also think of it as giving an audience what it didn't even know it wanted to begin with. When we think about the Holocaust, unless we are aberrant or sadistic, we are unlikely to be pleased by it, in and of itself, but when we read a text in the postmodern sense of texts, including films and art, etc.
Because it gives us insight into human experience even of the horrific kind or it helps us to understand our world in some small way or, alternately, it helps us to experience what is incomprehensible about our world or it offers a critique or diagnosis of the systems in our culture which enable things like Holocausts which may inform our future actions or behavior.
And of course there are other possibilities of pleasures we might derive from unpleasant subjects—some certainly less honorable. It sounds terrible, doesn't it? As if I asked for the monkey to dance for me and it failed to dance? But don't confuse these pleasures with the baser forms. Fatelessness is unsuccessful because it has nothing much to say, but it manages nevertheless to say it at great length.
It's little more than a neutered story of a boy spending time in concentration camps. The sentences are long, dissected by countless clauses, phrases, and parenthetical asides, and often pointless. They accumulate detail but not purpose. Perhaps this is a commentary on life—an existential grammar—but if so, how trite. Our suffering is long and meaningless. At only pages, this book feels long and meaningless itself.
An efficacious art. View all 42 comments. Cynically, this could be recommended as a handbook for survival should you find yourself arrested one fine morning thanks to your offensive identity or favoriting a thousand resist-related tweets in a single week. I don't think expert knowledge eg, it's best to be toward the end of the soup line so the ladle is filled with weightier chunks of veggies and maybe some meat will really come in handy any time soon, but this does have an important function now, the same as it always has, in that it Cynically, this could be recommended as a handbook for survival should you find yourself arrested one fine morning thanks to your offensive identity or favoriting a thousand resist-related tweets in a single week.
The image of the Auschwitz crematorium chimneys at first they thought the nasty smell was coming from a nearby leather factory stretching into the distance made me say aloud on the subway something like whoa dude fuck. For the first few chapters it functions like a suspense thriller in that the reader knows more about the horrors up ahead than the narrator, but after a while rumors start to circulate and they have a better idea about what's going on, not that such knowledge changes anything for them really.
All the minor instances of luck and goodwill that kept the narrator alive. All the facial features distorted by time spent as a prisoner. Loved isn't the right word but I laughed out loud when he made it back to Budapest and someone asked what he felt and he said hatred and when asked who he hated he said everyone. Loved the last parts where he's trying to describe what it was really like, how it wasn't all horror all the time, or hell, as everyone wants him to say, but that it was boring everyday life, a twisted cousin of freedom in that he was living a fate imposed on him, as though he had no fate hence the title , and now that he was actually free he felt homesick for when he had no choices to make.
The first translation may have regulated the text a bit and, to me, it reads better, without a doubt. If you're interested in giving this writer a try, this his first novel is probably the one to start with.
Sin destino / Fateless (Acantilado / Cliff) (Spanish Edition)
Check out what's streaming this month. See the full list. A group of people are imprisoned in a rail car bound from Berlin to a concentration camp in Twin siblings enduring the harshness of WWII in a village on the Hungarian border hedge their survival on studying and learning from the evil surrounding them. At the Olympic Games in Melbourne, the Hungarian water polo team faces off against the Russians in what will become known as one of the bloodiest matches in the sport's history.
The novel is a semi-autobiographical story about a year-old Hungarian Jew 's experiences in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. One day all of the Jews are pulled off of the buses leaving the Jewish quarter , and are sent to Auschwitz on a train without water. Eventually he is sent to Buchenwald , and continues on describing his life in a concentration camp, before being finally sent to another camp in Zeitz. Returning to Budapest , he is confronted with those who were not sent to camps and had just recently begun to hear of the terrible injustice and suffering.
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