Over the summer I read some books I owned myself (among other the good detective "The Poet" from Michael Connelly!), but 3 weeks ago I quickly went into the library. Due to time restrictions, both for the wandering around the many isles full of treasures as for the reading time before I had to return the books, I dutifully restricted myself to selecting 2 books. Books with a historic icon have an advantage to get chosen and I quickly walked out with a holocaust book and a book about the Armenian/Turkish conflict at the beginning of last century.

First I started reading "Fateless" by Imre Kertesz. Totally unknown to me, I was a bit shocked & ashamed that I had apparently obliviously picked a well-known controversial book by 2002 Nobel price winner.


It's one of the rare books where I reread the ending to try to understand. Kertesz describes his own experiences as a deported Hungarian Jew to the camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald & Zeitz which he barely survived. He describes all events and although his person is steadily dehumanizing due to the horrible circumstances, he manages to live through it all while rationalizing, taking distance of the linked morality & injustice.
The end reasoning is truly thought provoking and quite shocking as Kertesz returns to Budapest claiming he had not seen the hell in Auschwitz...on the contrary due to the extreme circumstances he had experienced there his strongest moments of happiness. He refuses to be a victim because we are all partially responsible for the holocaust: in a totalitarian regime you must choose to collaborate to some degree if you want to survive. He doesn't seem to state anywhere that holocaust was not evil & horrible but never points an accusation to anybody for what happened and by doing so he accuses us all including himself.

Euh....yes....as I said, shocking and thought provoking and in a way refreshing to read about the holocaust without the usual sentimentality & sadness& evilisation that we are used to. I totally don't get him though. I think I'm gonna put "Kaddosh for the unborn child" on my to read list where he deals with a man who doesn't want to father a child in a society that allowed the holocaust to happen.


Lilacspecs said…
Interesting. I may check that out.
anno said…
Sounds like an thought-provoking book -- thanks for the review!

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