A moving, mesmerising novel about the dilemma involved in bringing a child into a world in which the evil to create Auschwitz exists
The first word of this haunting novel is ‘no’. It is how the narrator, a middle-aged Hungarian Jewish writer, answers an acquaintance who asks if he has a child and it is how he answered his, now ex-, wife when she told him she wanted a baby.
The loss, longing, and regret that haunt the years between those two ‘no’s’ give rise to one of the most eloquent meditations ever written on the Holocaust.As Kertesz’s narrator addresses the child he couldn’t bear to bring into the world, he takes readers on a mesmerising, lyrical journey through his life, from his childhood to Auschwitz to his failed marriage.
“Stunning... resembles such other memorably declamatory fictions as Camus' The Fall and Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground”
“Tim Wilkinson is a seriously good translator...I may have given the impression that this is harrowing, and it is; but it has its moments of great, consoling insight, is about far more than just the Holocaust and in its own haunting way provides comfort for the afflicted”
Nicholas Lezard, Guardian
“Tim Wilkinson's translation... is a fine and powerful piece of work. ... Dark, at times cryptic, and hugely energetic, this is a phenomenal piece of writing, showing the depth and breadth of the effects of war on its survivors”
Nora Mahony, Irish Times
“Condenses a lifetime into a story told in a single night...exhilarating for [its] creative energy”