Kaddish for an Unborn Child by Imre Kertesz

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The first word in this mesmerizing novel by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature is “No.” It is how the novel’s narrator, a middle-aged Hungarian-Jewish writer, answers an acquaintance who asks him if he has a child. It is the answer he gave his wife (now ex-wife) years earlier when she told him that she wanted one. 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 ushers readers into the labyrinth of his consciousness, dramatizing the paradoxes attendant on surviving the catastrophe of Auschwitz. Kaddish for the Unborn Child is a work of staggering power, lit by flashes of perverse wit and fueled by the energy of its wholly original voice.
Translated by Tim Wilkinson

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Imre Kertesz

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IMRE KERTÉSZ was born in Hungary in 1929. At the age of fourteen he was imprisoned at Auschwitz and later at the Buchenwald concentration camps. He is the author of 14 books of fiction and non-fiction, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002 for "writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history." Translator TIM WILKINSON is the primary English translator of Imre Kertész as well as numerous other significant works of Hungarian history and literature. In 2005, his translation of Kertész's Fatelessness was awarded the PEN Club/Book of the Month Club Translation Prize. He lives in London.

Author Residence: Berlin
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 130 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Kaddish for an Unborn Child

The Guardian

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In a brief interview given shortly after winning the Nobel in 2002, the Hungarian Imre Kertész, asked to comment on his claim that it was easier for him to write in a dictatorship than a democracy, replied: "In a democracy you have to find a market niche, make sure a novel is 'interesting' and 's...

Sep 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Kaddish for an Unborn Child

Publishers Weekly

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In a tortured burst of introspection, the Hungarian-Jewish narrator of Nobel Prize-winner Imre Kertesz's brief novel Kaddish for an Unborn Child examines his reasons for choosing not to have a child, addressing his monologue to the son or daughter he never had.

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