Roman eines Schicksallosen

by Imre Kertész (Autor)

Paperback, 1999

Status

Available

Publication

Rowohlt Taschenbuch (1999), Edition: 33. Auflage, Neuausgabe, 288 pages

Description

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. He doesn’t particularly think of himself as Jewish. And his fellow prisoners, who decry his lack of Yiddish, keep telling him, “You are no Jew.” In the lowest circle of the Holocaust, Georg remains an outsider. The genius of Imre Kertesz’s unblinking novel lies in its refusal to mitigate the strangeness of its events, not least of which is Georg’s dogmatic insistence on making sense of what he witnesses–or pretending that what he witnesses makes sense. 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.… (more)

Media reviews

User reviews

LibraryThing member GingerbreadMan
This is one of those books it just never seemed the right time to read. I’m sure we all have them – books of undeniable importance that we know we’ll want to read someday. Need even. Just not…today. And besides, what if it don’t like it? Worse, what if it doesn’t affect me? So despite
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being a slender volume and coming with strong recommendations from people I trust, despite reading other books dealing with the holocaust in the meantime, Fateless stared at me from my shelves for close to seven years before I finally picked it up.

This slim novel, drawing from the author’s own experiences, is telling the well known story of the concentration camps in the simplest way possible. The boy Györgi, already used to the limitations to his everyday life that comes with being a jew in Budapest in 1944, is asked to get off the bus on his way to work one day. After being rounded up in a house, in a mellow and almost friendly fashion, he and his friends are put on a train “to go to work in Germany”. Only when arriving at his destination he comes to realise that the stories of the death camps he’s always dismissed were true. The book then deals with Györgi’s prison life in Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Zeitz, right up til the liberation and his return home.

Kertész tells us this heart-wrenching story in style that’s laconic and completely understated, free of sentiment. Györgi treats the daily horrors of the camps as if they were inevitable, even natural, which gives the writing a form of held back force that is impossible to guard oneself against. The image the reader gets is that of complete disillusion and detachment as survival strategy. And when our narrator after returning home one single time describes what he’s feeling -“hate”- that simple word stands out as something extremely powerful.

This book is full of images and little descriptions that seem profound statements of life under such extreme circumstances. Such as the illogical will to prove yourself as a good worker to your tormentors. Or the utter boredom of life in the camps. Or the disappointment when you realise you still want to cling on to life despite being seriously ill. Or being worried at the ruckus of liberation if this means they’ll forget to serve evening soup. Or the strange sting of homesickness that hits you when thinking back on the camps.

This is a quick and easy read. And very difficult. And utterly thought-provoking. I can’t recommend it enough.
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LibraryThing member labfs39
This has been a hard book to digest and even harder to review. It is about the Holocaust, which is a delicate topic to discuss in itself, and problematic because it provides an intellectually alternative view of how to perceive the horrors and the ultimate meaning of fate and freedom. I have read
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many books about the Holocaust, and I have come to expect not only a certain plot line (denial, ghetto, camps, horrors, survival or not, with occasional attempts at escape or resistance), but also a certain communal mindset about the entire event: inhumane to the point of vowing "Never again" (rather futile words given the continued perpetuation of genocides). We have a collective understanding of what the Holocaust was and even a general sense of how survivor's felt: horror, grief, suppression of emotional response in some cases, and then moving on, many not wanting to speak of their experiences. When a book comes along that challenges this set of collective beliefs, it is very hard not to simply deny or negate what the author says. I found this to be the case for me when I read [Scheisshaus luck] and [I'm No Hero], both memoirs of young men who found the war and their internment to be no reason to stop chasing women, taking advantage of opportunities for self-benefit, or struggling with the adolescent angst of moving from child to man. At first I was horrified: poking fun, bawdy, irreverent - the Holocaust?

In a different way, [Fatelessness] provoked a similar response in me. Georg Koves is a fictional character that observes and accepts without question or malice what happens to him. Constantly throughout the book, Georg uses phrases like "naturally", "purely in my eyes, of course", "it goes without saying", "in my case at least", "for me at any rate", and others that convey the sense that what he experiences in the Holocaust and the camps is natural, although the author acknowledges that this may not be the same view others take.

At the very beginning, I still considered myself to be what I might call a sort of guest in captivity—very pardonably and , when it comes down to it, in full accordance with the propensity to delusion that we all share and which is thus, I suppose, ultimately part of human nature.

In addition, Georg, sees the beauty of nature and the joy possible in the camps. Even when he is so ill and emaciated that he doesn't expect to live, he thinks

Thus, when I, along with all the others on whom it was clear not too much further hope can have been pinned of being set to work again here, in Zeitz (a subcamp), was returned to sender as it were—back to Buchenwald—I naturally shared the others' joy with every faculty that was left me, since I was promptly reminded of the good times there, most especially the morning soups.

Joy at returning to Buchenwald, where good times were had? This is only one of several instances where some readers might be incredulous and even angry at the perceived belittlement of the true horrors of the place.

One could assume that the character Georg is delusional or that he was emotionally stunted from the beginning. His lack of emotional response as his family prepares first to send his father off to forced labor, and then himself to Auschwitz, seems inappropriate even to a fourteen year old child. And indeed there are passages at the end of the book when he truly does not seem to understand human emotion. Or is it that he understands it too well?

In the end, I found that people on all sides were looking at me, heads shaking, and with a most singular emotion on their faces, which was a little embarrassing because, as best I could tell, they were feeling sorry for me. I felt a strong urge to tell them there was no need for that after all, at least not right at that moment, but I ended up saying nothing, something held me back, somehow I couldn't find it in my heart to do so, because I noticed that the emotion gratified them, gave them some sort of pleasure, the way I saw it. Indeed—and I could have been mistaken of course, though I don't think so—but later on (for there were one or two other occasions on which Ii was similarly questioned and interrogated) I gained the impression that they expressly sought out, almost hunted for, an opportunity, a means or pretext for this emotion for some reason, out of some need, as a testimony to something as it were, to their method of dealing with things perhaps, or possibly, who knows, to their still being capable of it at all...

"The emotion (of pity) gratified them." Although Georg is referring to fellow prisoners, can the idea of seeking an opportunity to feel pity for the innocent victims of the Holocaust refer to us as well? Personally, I believe there are many reasons why people read Holocaust memoirs, visit memorials, and educate themselves about the history of the Holocaust. But could there also exist this desire to feel pity, to seek opportunities to be horrified and sorry for others? It's a loaded question. When people speak to or read the words of survivors, what do they want to hear?

For even there, next to the chimneys, in the intervals between the torments, there was something that resembled happiness. Everyone asks only about the hardships and the "atrocities", whereas for me perhaps it is that experience which will remain most memorable. Yes, the next time I am asked, I ought to speak about that, the happiness of the concentration camps.

If indeed I am asked. And provided I myself don't forget.
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LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
This story opens as we are immediately plunked into a young, 15 year old boys life. We come to realize very quickly that we are reading about World War II and that young Gyuri is Jewish, and getting ready to say goodbye to his father who is being shipped out to a work camp. Set in Hungry,
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Fatelessness follows along as Gyuri is separated from his family and shipped off to Auschwitz. Trying to make sense of senseless acts, this boy, who doesn’t particularly think of himself as Jewish, slowly loses the last things he owns, his identity and his sense of self.

This story is made all the more powerful by the author, Imre Kertesz, who writes in a matter-of-fact, unsentimental way as he portrays this chilling, haunting story. As we follow Gyuri from Auschwitz to Buchenwald, he slowly becomes aware that he is one of the few that haven’t been immediately killed. He is crammed into a shed with two hundred and fifty other men, kept alive on starvation rations and forced to labour in an adjacent factory. At first he thinks he will get along by being a model prisoner, but polite obedience and a willingness to work until his fingers bleed eventually give way to the slow realization that he is powerless to change things.

A heart-rendering story, Fatelessness, is Imre Kertesz story as well, as he was imprisoned in Buchenwald as a young man, and this, his first novel, does much to shed light upon this terrible moment in history.
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LibraryThing member SqueakyChu
Georg Koves is a 14-year-old Hungarian boy whose father is sent to work at a "labor camp". Georg himself is told he must work instead of attend school. Taken off of a bus en route to work, Georg and other Jews are transported to Auschwitz. He is later moved to two other concentration camps - first
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Buchenwald, then Zeitz. Reporting on his daily life in a way that doesn't reveal emotion, he tells of what he sees and learns as he is passed along from one concentration camp to another.

The writing is detailed and beautiful. However, it is hard to imagine that this is the voice of a 14-year-old boy. Perhaps it's the translation, although this is a newer translation of the book called Sorstalansag in Hungarian. Because the story lacks emotional footing, much attention is paid to the minutae of Georg's daily life. It's probably a "safe" way of reading about the Holocaust, but it is strange indeed. One thing that it does well is capture the wonder of one person who tries to make sense of what he sees around him. The story-telling narrative runs along with no pause - almost like the day-after-day sense of Georg's being caught up in a life over which he has no control. This is for sure a mesmerizing read.
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LibraryThing member www.snigel.nu
A book all pupils received when I finished ninth grade. This book is really worth reading, it is without doubt the most original book written about the Holocaust. Read it regardless of what relationship you have to literature on the subject, because this one is different from all the others.
LibraryThing member BudaBaby
A story of a young boy surviving and searching for normalcy in German concentration camps. This Nobel Prize winner is perhaps the most gut-wrenching yet thoughtful accounts I've ever read.
LibraryThing member adrianburke
Gabi Toth gave me this for my 60th birthday. On first sight a strange choice of novel as a gift to a novice sexagenarian.
From my email to John Paine:
"The one recent novel which will stick in my memory is the work of a Hungarian writer called Imre Kertesz. He won the Nobel prize for literature. The
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book is called ‘Fateless’ and tells the story of Gyuri and his journey to and through Auschwitz. What distinguishes the narrative is the way the narrator makes sense - or tries to - of what he sees and goes through. I hesitate to recommend it because of the subject matter but what is foregrounded is the narrator’s stance rather than the awful familiar events. Whatever. The book has lingered in my mind after I closed it for the last time this morning and I cannot say that about most of the stuff I read. Because I get books from the library I am liberated from the obligation to read to the end books which don’t grab me. Fateless was given to me by Liz’s eldest son’s girlfriend who is Hungarian and comes from Budapest. Quite the thing really to be given a book from her culture and to feel that in some way the young lady has a programme to educate me! "
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LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
It is impossible to imagine what the victims of the Holocaust had to go through at the hands of the Nazis. Language can only express so much. That is the central point in this account by the great Hungarian writer, Imre Kertesz - we cannot understand the concentration camps, and we cannot
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understand the testimony of the inmates. All we can do is listen.
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LibraryThing member jonfaith
My mechanics are likely skewed, it happens. The passing of Hitchens has pressed me terribly. This remarkable novel represented a current of oxygen amidst the stifle. Fateless maintains an ironic stance towards the Shoah. It should be embraced. By "embrace", I mean to cherish. By "It" I mean both
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the irony and the novel.
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LibraryThing member brenzi
”I also glimpsed, directly in front and to the left, some building, a godforsaken railway halt or possibly the signal box for some larger terminal. It was miniscule, gray, and, as yet, completely deserted, its small windows closed and with one of those ridiculously steep-pitched roofs that I had
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already see in this region yesterday…..They asked if I could see a place-name on it. In the strengthening light, on the narrower gable end of the building, facing the direction in which we were traveling, on the surface below the roof, I could in fact make out two words: ‘Auschwitz-Birkenau’ was what I read, written in spiky, curlicued Gothic lettering, joined by one of those wavy double hyphens of theirs.” (Page 76)quote>

Gyuri, a fourteen year old Hungarian Jew, was plucked from a bus transporting him to his assigned work camp and forced into a cattle car with others who were also on the bus. They had no idea where they were going. Even when they got to the dreaded destination, they were unaware of the meaning of the later feared concentration camp.

This book is semi-autobiographical and its author later went on to win the Nobel prize in Literature. Gyuri narrates the story almost as if he is an unconcerned bystander, making dry observations of the everyday activities in the camp. He is scorned by most of the others as an outsider because he is Hungarian and can’t speak Yiddish and he soon learns how valuable fluency in another language would have been to him. Nothing he sees is presented as wicked or shocking. It’s just the way it is and he just seems to accept very stoically, that this is the life he is living. He can’t do anything about it so he quickly develops an attitude of blind acceptance.

When he finally returns home after the liberation of the camps he has a hard time explaining to others that he actually was happy at times while being held in the concentration camp. Very few people can understand this.
The book is beautifully written and very moving. It presented a side to being held captive that I never would’ve considered possible. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member tchelyzt
This extraordinary book, written by a man who experienced Buchenwald Concentration Camp first hand at 14 years of age, illuminates why so many Jews accepted their fate so passively. He describes getting caught up in a round-up of men and boys and as you see it through his eyes you can appreciate
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the awfulness but understand why he might never imagine just where it was leading. As in Les Bienveillantes, I again saw inside the bureaucratic machine that sweeps the oppressor along as relentlessly as the oppressed. It seems to me that, rather than simple evil, there is an innate indifference in people to the suffering of others when there is a profit to be made or a risk to be avoided. The oppressed are zealous about alleviating their own suffering at the cost of their fellow oppressed.

The book is remarkable for its detached almost journalistic tone which allocates blame but without bitterness. For instance, having made his way through the Auschwitz induction routine, he marvels at the creative way the people have been deceived into unquestioningly following along and imagines the meeting where German officers constructed the deception:

After all, people would have had to meet to discuss this, put their heads together so to say … One of them comes up with the gas, another immediately follows with the bathhouse, a third with the soap, then a fourth adds the flower beds, and so on. Some of the ideas may have provoked more prolonged discussion and amendment, whereas others would have been immediately hailed with delight.

The whole business is so detached and impersonal, not unlike the present day taking of a decision to say, relocate a factory to Asia and cast a lot of people out of their jobs. The executives are so pleased at their own cleverness and (almost) oblivious to the human cost. I’ve observed management in my workplace take important decisions about peoples lives, carelessly and indeed ignorant of their prejudices. The Holocaust may have been facilitated by the same universal mentality.

A portion of the book, describing the period in the infirmary which was probably responsible for his survival, is very strange. It remined me of the Twilight Zone and I had the eerie feeling of seeing his world in black and white only. Again you see that the oppressed is ready to turn oppressor at the drop of a hat to save his skin. I wonder did the author wait so many years to write his story because the fundamental message is so disturbing. This is an uncomfortable book because you read it with a growing fear that you are no stronger than them and could easily have participated in the persecution.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
I picked this book before a trip to Eastern Europe, visiting Budapest, Krakow and Prague. We wanted to focus part of our trip on the Holocaust and planned visits to Auschwitz, the Jewish quarter in Prague and other important historic sights. This book added a depth to our visit that gave us some
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additional insight about the horror of that time. The story is about a 14 year old boy from Budapest, Georg Koves, who is seized on his way to work to be sent to Auschwitz. This story is told in Georg's voice and its tone is very matter-of-fact. Although he sees that people are being separated to be killed, he doesn't display the expected horror or panic. And in the same even tone, he talks about the death of people around him, his gradual starvation and the daily work grind. Although the tone is calm and even, the facts are horrible and it makes this period of history seem even more cruel. An excellent book of a somber period in our history.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
I picked this book before a trip to Eastern Europe, visiting Budapest, Krakow and Prague. We wanted to focus part of our trip on the Holocaust and planned visits to Auschwitz, the Jewish quarter in Prague and other important historic sights. This book added a depth to our visit that gave us some
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additional insight about the horror of that time. The story is about a 14 year old boy from Budapest, Georg Koves, who is seized on his way to work to be sent to Auschwitz. This story is told in Georg's voice and its tone is very matter-of-fact. Although he sees that people are being separated to be killed, he doesn't display the expected horror or panic. And in the same even tone, he talks about the death of people around him, his gradual starvation and the daily work grind. Although the tone is calm and even, the facts are horrible and it makes this period of history seem even more cruel. An excellent book of a somber period in our history.
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LibraryThing member carioca
Fateless is no ordinary book on the Holocaust. It traces the experiences of a 15-year-old boy in Auschwitz and the various ways through which he managed to retain some semblance of serenity (even borderline apathy) in the face of the horrors he witnessed. Kertesz, himself an Auschwitz survivor,
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chose to depict the atrocities the boy suffers in the book with a purposedful lack of emotion. He also does not engage in active description of what Auschwitz was physically like, since words cannot really describe it. Instead, the horror of it all rests in the extreme melancholy and detachment of the main character, which obviously account for the way he found to cope with his surroundings.
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LibraryThing member smallmeadow
Excellent for its ability to provide insights into how prisoners were so easily caught up into the deportations and camp experience, and in the after-camp experience in which those who weren't in camps wanted everyone to just forget it and move one; an impossibility.
LibraryThing member alwright1
This is a fiction book about a Jewish boy held in Auschwitz concentration camp and Buchenwald and Zeitz work campus during the Holocaust by a man who had a similar experience. He tells the tale matter-of-factually, as he experiences it. A lot of details just build to provide a picture of how
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commonplace and every-day horror can become as humans try to survive moment to moment. As he tries to explain to his family on returning home how hope, and longing for stability, and ethics have led everyone involved who is still alive to follow this path through to fruition, everyone he tries to explain it to becomes horrified. He speculates on the happiness in the concentration campus and on how anyone who came to these realizations all at once, instead of minute by minute as they were forced to live and find food and work and move, might collapse.

Honestly, it kept occurring to me while I was traveling in unknown places after finishing the book that I was sometimes following signs in underground places that were little populated for long distances, and I was just doing what the signs suggested I do next. Just hoping that it would get me where I needed to be without much thought, and I would think of the beginning of the books as people are transported to the camps almost without protest. Then I would feel ridiculous for my mundane comparison in face of such atrocities, then I would think about how the mundane nature of a lot of it was kind of his point, but it didn't make me feel less guilty.
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LibraryThing member SimoneA
Fatelessness tells the story of a young Jewish boy, living trough the Holocaust. The style of this book is strange, very distant and almost unemotional. But I think that style made this book all the more powerful. We see atrocities and hardship through the boy's eyes, and because he feels so
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detached, it hit me harder. Fatelessness is not an easy book to read, but it shouldn't be.
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LibraryThing member kant1066
If any novel would have the ability to impress with its insights into the human condition, you would think it would be one about a teenage boy named Gyorgy trying to survive as he is torn away from his family one day, and then randomly shuffled from one concentration camp to the next. Add to this a
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narrator whose first-person, documental prose discusses everything from his father being transferred to a labor camp to, at the end of the novel, his blasé reaction to his father’s death in the camps. Thinking back on it, this was one of the central problems for me: his reactions, even to the most horrific experiences (like finding out that there were crematoria in the camps), was unconvincingly cool and aloof.

In one of the last sentences of “Fateless,” Gyorgy says “Everybody will ask me about the deprivations, the ‘terror of the camps,’ but for me, the happiness there will always be the most memorable experience, perhaps. Yes, that’s what I’ll tell them the next time they ask me: about the happiness in those camps.” I wonder what survivors today would say about that sentence; I do not deny that some might find it interesting, but I would be curious about the average reaction that a Holocaust survivor had to it. What I find most disconcerting about this is not that he could have found happiness in the camps. We are forced to find our own ways to survive psychologically, after all. But nothing in the book leading up to that sentence would have led the reader to believe that it was true. As a result, the whole thing ended up feeling false, more like a series of diary entries than a coherent, lucid account of concentration camp life. I use the term “diary entries” here because, while so many people claim that this is biographical or semi-biographical novel, Kertesz has purportedly denied this is true.

But I should note some important qualifications. I didn’t read the novel in Hungarian, I may have been in a particularly non-receptive mood while reading it, et cetera. Another reviewer wrote, “In the end I remained as detached and as unengaged as Gyorgy himself.” I agree. And because of that, I’m afraid it will not stick with me in the same way, say, that Primo Levi’s “The Periodic Table” has.

I was glad this was not, as so much popular Holocaust fiction is, a simplistic story of “good triumphing over evil.” Kertesz never turns the events in the camps into some gratuitous pornography of atrocity after atrocity, leaving us to sanctimoniously shake our heads in disapproval. How true is it? In some ways, I hope I will never find out. But the sincerity of his literary effort and vision are not something I cannot call into question.
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LibraryThing member inaudible
It is unforgivable that Kertész remains relatively unknown despite winning a Nobel Prize.

I read this book alongside Primo Levi's 'Auschwitz Report' and Elias Canetti's essay 'Power and Survival'.
LibraryThing member jwhenderson
Nominally this is a story about a young boy who is sent to the Nazi concentration camps from his home in Budapest in the last year of World War II. Narrated in the first person by young Gyorgy Koves, the novel is the story of an outsider -- one who does not belong to any group or anyone even as he
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is brutally incarcerated and his life is severely restricted almost to the point of death.
Gyorgy is an outsider in several senses. The week before he leaves home his Father is sent away to a "labor camp". When Gyorgy arrives at the concentration camp to which he has been transported he has to claim to be sixteen when he was not, surviving by being one of a small number of youths among many older prisoners. He was not from a particularly religious family, and knew neither Yiddish nor Hebrew. So, while he wore the obligatory yellow star, fellow Jewish prisoners looked down on him because he only spoke Hungarian, again he was an outsider and felt as though he did not fit in, but took it all in stride with faith that things would work out. His narrative underscores the feeling of being an outsider by a focus on the his individual interaction with the camp with little mention of specific interpersonal connections. The one exception, his friend Bandi Citrom, is the only boy whose name we learn.
The author uses his young narrator's lack of knowledge about his surroundings to maintain a distance from his new world. It is a distance that also constrains Gyorgy's connection with other individuals he meets in the camp who, when referred to at all, are given generic nicknames like "traveller", "fancy-man", and "the Gypsy". It is only Bandi that we learn anything about and it is about him that Gyorgy says: "all these things, and much else besides, all of it knowledge essential to prison life, I was taught by Bandi Citrom, learning by watching and myself striving to emulate."
The horror of the story is in the way Gyorgy describes his slow descent into a shadow of his former self as his body becomes a living ghost. It is his striving, which ebbs lower and lower, that keeps him going. This is a difficult book to read in its unrelenting presentation of an extreme experience of degradation of an individual. Like others who have shared similar experiences Kertesz connects with the reader on a very human level sharing the story of an ordinary young man whose experience was extraordinary.
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LibraryThing member Kayla-Marie
I probably would have liked this better if it were written in a different style. I understand the use of the dispassionate narrative to provide an arresting contrast to the horrors being depicted at the concentration camps, but it kind of turned me off--not to mention the pages-long paragraphs and
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forty page chapters (I like my chapters to be around 10-15 pages; it's helpful to me to have frequent stopping places seeing as that most of my reading is done during short breaks between classes and right before I go to bed).

This book does get into something special during the last two chapters, though, when the narrator begins to talk about the "beauty" and "happiness" of the camps. Reading about that unusual aspect was really striking. I suggest that if you're struggling through this book to just skip to the last 90 pages-they're the gems of the novel.
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LibraryThing member kjuliff
Review of Fatelessness
The Crux of it: I am Here
1942 - a French orderly gives out sugar cubes to French children every day in the Buchenwald concentration camp hospital. The main character György a Hungarian teenager, notices that the French speakers get two, while he only ever gets one. To György
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this behavior illustrates the advantage of learning a second.language.

This is typical György who is sent first to Auschwitz and then to Buchenwald where he endures the horrors of the camps as we know them. He analyses events by rationalizing them in a matter of fact way, sans morality or resentment, his only emotion coming midway in the book when he starts to experience “irritability” and even then, never moral outrage.

The story is autobiographical and was written years after Kertész‘s imprisonment, when he was on the cusp of forgetting. Hence the many details of inmates’ facial structures and camp hierarchy uniforms. He’s putting it alll out there, in plain and simple terms; making it hard for the modern reader to understand the eerie detachment.

The story is told in chronological order, with the young boy unaware of what lies ahead as he passes from one horror to the next. Each event is told using backshadowing, with György taking and justifying each horror step by step without the knowledge of the modern reader. This of course is how the inmates experienced the ordeal, and reading it in this way has the efffect of making the experience more real. We are centered in György‘s life. But we can never fully accept the detachment shown in the justifications, the peak and most horrific being when Köves seems to “understand” the crematoria of Auschwitz,

I became used to György’s way of using reason to justify what happens to him without ethical considerations. But the question remains why? Is it that it’s a story told by a teenager? Or that the writer lacks Faith and is, being a non-practicing Jew, an outcast amongst outcasts? Or is it for effect? Or has the concept of morality been beaten out of him?

I prefer to think it’s an older person’s way of trying to remember what has of necessity been repressed. The writer is trying to remember, step by step, the events of his imprisonment, along with how he managed to cope with those events,as a young male thrust into the horror of the Holocaust without any adult experience or faith to guide him. Thus as with the sugar cube episode recounted in a matter-of-fact way, without rancor or moral overtone, I started to see into Kertész’s memory.
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Language

Original publication date

1975 (original Hungarian)

Physical description

288 p.; 7.48 inches

ISBN

349922576X / 9783499225765
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