Nobel Laureate Imre Kertész plunges us into a story of the worst kind, told by a man living outside morality.
Antonio Martens was a torturer for the secret police of a recently defunct dictatorship. Now in prison, he requests and is given writing materials in his cell, and what he has to recount is his involvement in the surveillance, torture, and assassination of Federigo and Enrique Salinas, a prominent father and son whose principled but passive opposition to the regime left them vulnerable to the secret police. Preying upon young Enrique’s aimless life, the secret police began to position him as a subversive and then targeted his father. Once this plan was set into motion, any means were justified to reach the regime’s chosen end—the destruction of an entire liberal class.
Inside Martens’s mind, we inhabit the rationalising world of evil and see first-hand the inherent danger of inertia during times of crisis.
“A dark, disturbing novel, from a writer with a profound understanding of a dictatorship's inner workings”
“A masterful addition to his other translated novels”
“A powerful and troubling new novella”
“A suspenceful, bleak comic parable”
“One of the most inspired originals at work today...an astonishing performance, as terrifying as Kafka and as plausible...candid and as black as night, remarkable, alluring... How these pages shimmer with irony and astute observation.”
“Compelling, chilling, bitter little sigh of a novel”
Scotland on Sunday
“A timely moral fable, then, but a gripping story too. With impressive economy, Kertesz creates enough round characters to populate a novel five times as long”
“The narrative is neat, lucid, written with admirable economy”
Alan Massie, Scotsman