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Fateless

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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  3,822 ratings  ·  325 reviews
Fateless is the first English translation of a moving and disturbing novel about a Hungarian Jewish boy's experiences in German concentration camps and his attempts to reconcile himself to those experiences after the war.
Paperback, 191 pages
Published October 21st 1996 by Northwestern University Press (first published 1975)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David
Nobel prize-winner Imre Kertész survived stays in both the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. While he was there, I have no doubt that he suffered a great deal—both physically and psychologically—so I was (understandably, I think) hesitant to dislike his semi-autobiographical Holocaust novel Fatelessness. It seems (at the very least) very inconsiderate of me to criticize his book for failing to 'entertain' me.

Entertainment is a strange, nebulous word. Are we entertained (in whatever
...more
Hadrian
Fatelessness is a profound, deeply unsettling book.

Georg Koves is a Hungarian boy, about 14 or 15. His father was already taken away to a forced labor camp. He thinks about Jewishness, his own identity, the star on his coat, and girls. After a stint of his own forced labor and a betrayal from his neighbors, he is sent to Auschwitz. He is told to lie about his age, and he does. This spares him from gas and incineration. After some time there, he is then sent to Buchenwald, then to a 'provincial'
...more
Aubrey
This is when I found out that you could be bored even in Auschwitz - provided you were choosy. We waited and we waited, and as I come to think of it, we waited for nothing to happen. This boredom, combined with this strange waiting, was, I think, approximately what Auschwitz meant to me, but of course I am only speaking for myself.
As he said, he's only speaking for himself. Here, I am speaking for myself, as is the case for any and all fiction, and even some of the non. What I speak involves m
...more
Shovelmonkey1
Feb 24, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in modern european history
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Kertesz won the Nobel prize for literature for this book and it is really not surprising, hence the five stars. I would also advocate that the book be called "Timeless" as well for it is one of those books which has an aura of being beyond time. It could have been written immediately after the end of World War II, or it could have been written yesterday, and there is little way of knowing (at least through the text) when this story was made its way onto paper because it is a single voice in the ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 10, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
For me, all works by a Nobel Prize in Literature winner should be gems. Methinks that getting this prize is the highest honor that any writer on this earth can dream about.

So, since I have turned into a voracious reader, I have been sampling a work or so of the past Nobel laureates. So far, I’ve read:
Sienkiewicz (1905). Hamsum (1920). Mann (1929). Hesse (1946). Faulkner (1949). Hemingway (1954). Jimenez (1956). Camus (1957). Checkhov (1958). Pasternak (1958). Neruda (1971). Bellow (1976). Cane
...more
Lisa Lieberman
I read Fatelessness for the first time not long after Kertész won the Nobel Prize, and without knowing much about Hungarian history or Hungarian writers. I will admit, I was mystified by its tone, which veered back and forth between a disarming intimacy (where the reader is invited to share the naive perspective of the 15-year-old narrator, Gyorgy, on his experiences in the lagers) and the ironic detachment of the narrator's adult self. It was more layered than a work of witness testimony, such ...more
Pandasurya
Fateless..


Yang namanya mati rasa memang tak pernah mengenal masa. Di masa perang, di masa damai, rasa tanpa rasa bisa hadir kapan saja tanpa mengenal waktu dan usia. Sejarah pun menjadi saksi mata. Di masa Perang Dunia II di Eropa, seorang remaja 15 tahun mengalaminya. George Kovas namanya. Ia tinggal di Budapest, Hungaria. Dan Imre Kertesz menuliskan kisahnya.

Suatu hari George Kovas meminta izin pada gurunya di sekolah untuk meninggalkan kelas karena alasan yang pribadi sifatnya. Dia harus pula
...more
Nate D
Dec 21, 2011 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the inadequate and unprocessable
Recommended to Nate D by: those who do not remember history...
Shelves: read-in-2011, hungary
After reading so many books lately, including Kertesz's own Liquidation, that profess the inability of words to render or address the Holocaust, it's somewhat unfamiliar to find it being dealt with here directly. But Kertesz was born in 1929 and really was sent to Auschwitz, so regardless of how autobiographical this may be, he seems more, uh... qualified ... to deal with this era than most. What an inadequate word, qualified. As above, words are not enough, and even though this is a direct firs ...more
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 the irony and the novel.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

I probably read a bad translation and maybe not one of the two that I have is any good. Funny that from a single Hungarian original more than one English translation can emerge. They couldn't even agree on the title: one has Fateless, and the other has Fatelessness. In one, there'll be three paragraphs which in the other are lumped into a long singularity. A mere phrase in one would be an independent sentence in another; a direct quote, just a simple declarative sentence in the other version; a
...more
Núria
Cierto que de novelas escritas por sobrevivientes del Holocausto hay bastantes y que todas son igual de necesarias, pero creo que no es menos cierto que algunas van mucho más allá del documento histórico y se convierten en literatura de altísimo nivel. Lo que primero sorprende de 'Sin destino' de Imre Kertész es que está narrada y protagonizada por un chico de 14 años. Su mirada es, por lo tanto, inocente, casi ingenua. Estremecedor es el momento en que él y sus compañeros llegan a Auschwitz, ve ...more
David
Fatelessness tells the story of 15-year-old Georg Koves, a highly assimilated Hungarian Jew, who one day finds himself on a train to Auschwitz. He is only in Auschwitz for three days before being transferred to Buchenwald, and finally to a labor camp in Zeitz. The novel narrates his experiences in all three places. While he may have been whisked off to Auschwitz, as the book jacket puts it, “without any special malice,” he encounters plenty of cruelty along the way. But what’s weird and striking ...more
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
I think I was, oh, about fourteen when I first saw Schindler’s List, a movie that made such an impact on me that I followed it up by reading as much Holocaust literature as I could find, including the novel upon which the movie is based. To date I’ve read- aside from Keneally -Tadeusz Borowski’s This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, Primo Levis’ If This is a Man, Elie Wiesel’s Night, and Wielsaw Kielar’s Anus Mundi. The work that made the greatest impact on me, in simple emotional terms, w ...more
[P]
I’m not often proud of my brother. Much of the time, and in most circumstances, our personalities and values are very different. However, some time ago a friend of his tried to get him to watch one of those execution videos, in which some poor sod gets his head lopped off. And he refused, quite aggressively so, he told me; he wanted nothing to do with it. It occurred to me then that one thing my brother and I do have in common is an aversion to violence and suffering. Hold on, you’ll say, doesn’ ...more
Kathrina
There are plenty of books out there that are more than happy to lead a reader through a vicarious experience of Nazi concentration camps of WWII. There is a kind of riveting thrill for these readers in stories of such unimaginable horror. But this book is not for them. No doubt, horrors abound, but our narrator is immune to them, or, more aptly, unsurprised by them, as these horrors are no more likely than comfort and happiness, in any given situation. The philosophy this young man learns throug ...more
Nancy Oakes
This novel is truly one of the best examples of Holocaust fiction, largely due to the power of Kertesz's writing, proving that you don't need to get into the horrific details in order to glimpse an individual's experience during this time period or the trauma of his survival upon his return home.

I'm not going to go into detail about plot here, (if you want to read about that then by all means drop in and take a look at my reading journal), but rather leave you with my impressions of this book.
...more
Vladislav
I have to confess, when I first started reading this masterpiece (because it is in fact a masterpiece) I was not impressed. The absolute lack of any emotional attachment a reader usually experiences during the dive into the horrors of Holocaust was masterfully eliminated by Kertész and - as I soon discovered - with good purpose. I read Fatelessness/Sortalanság (oh, how inappropriate it sounds in English!) in its original language, Hungarian. Unfortunately, most of the readers here are probably n ...more
Aba Mafalba
Ανορθόδοξο μυθιστόρημα, αιρετικό θα έλεγε κανείς.
Η γραφή του Κέρτες μου άρεσε πολύ. 4,5 αστεράκια για την ακρίβεια.
Cemil
The holocaust and specifically the concentration camps is a topic that has been well covered in many films, books and different forms of art. This one differs from those with its detached, cold, matter of fact style. Even though the story is a firsthand experience, there is a very objective no-nonsense third person view which magnifies the effect of atrocities gone through.
The contrast between the unreal circumstances and everyday needs and human pettiness is appalling;
-The introspective observ
...more
Tony
FATELESS. (1975). Imre Kertesz. ****.
Kertesz won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002. Born in Hungary of Jewish parents in 1929, he was imprisoned as a teenager in Auschwitz. This was his first novel, where he shares his experiences through the persona of George Koves, a fifteen-year-old boy. Koves is made to spend time both in Auschwitz and in Buchenwald – and for a short time in a third camp. The way he viewed his incarceration was very strange. It was as if all the things happening to him
...more
Tariq Alferis

..
"لو كان هناك مصير، فالحرية غير ممكنة؛ لكن لو, كانت هناك حرية، فلا يوجد مصير، أي أننا نحن أنفسنا المصير ذاته"
.

الحائز على جائزة نوبل للآداب عام 2002، إمره كيرتيس هو أحد الناجين من معسكر أوشفيتز. روايته الأولى لامصير والجزء الأول من الثلاثية، رواية كبيرة عن المحرقة، ومعسكرات الاعتقال كما يراها من خلال عيون الناجين من المراهقين.
إمره يُعتبر الكاتب الأول الحائز على نوبل من المجر، من الجميل القراءة في الأدب المجري، كيرتس هُنا يصور لنا أفكار عميقة صادقة وحزينة مليئة بالعواطف، اسقاط لقصة الكاتب الشخصية
...more
Mike
I don't ever really know what to say about books set during the Holocaust. This one is about a rather naive and initially thoughtless, unobservant boy who gets packed off first to Auschwitz, then Buchenwald, then a smaller labor camp, then back to Buchenwald. He becomes, for lack of a better word, institutionalized during this time, isolated from his captors (of course) but also from his fellow prisoners who either don't see him as sufficiently Jewish (neither does he see himself so) or who disl ...more
Phil
I often try to avoid works about the holocaust, because at this point, they often feel predictable and easy. I know that must sound like a terrible thing to say. I know the holocaust was a tragic and unforgettable atrocity, but it sometimes feels like there's little to gain from looking at it again, and that artists who source their work in it are taking a short-cut to something moving and poignant.

That's not the case with Kertesz.

By subverting the accepted standpoint(s) on the holocaust, by tak
...more
Roberta
"Non esiste assurdità che non possa essere vissuta con naturalezza e sul mio cammino, lo so fin d'ora, la felicità mi aspetta come una trappola inevitabile. Perché persino là, accanto ai camini, nell'intervallo tra i tormenti c'era qualcosa che assomigliava alla felicità. Tutti mi chiedono sempre dei mali, degli 'orrori': sebbene per me, forse, proprio questa sia l'esperienza più memorabile. Sì, è di questo, della felicità dei campi di concentramento che dovrei parlare loro, la prossima volta ch ...more
julieta
La historia que cuenta Sin Destino es ya conocida por todos, de una forma o de otra, pero lo que tiene este libro de especial es la forma de contarlo. Parece venir de otro lado, y la reflexión que hace al final es distinta. No hay reclamo, y hay una ausencia total de enojo. Eso quizás es algo que crea esta sensación tan extraña, porque te cuenta cosas super violentas, pero es como si las estuviera cantando, como si esa melodía fuera suave, porque encuentra suavidad en todo, en el aspecto de los ...more
Paul Shirley
I asked a girl at a cafe in Budapest to recommend to me some Hungarian authors. It rained the next day, so I went to a bookstore and asked for Hungarian books that had been translated to English. And then, because why not start with the Nobel prize winner, I bought Fateless (or Fatelessness, as it was once called).

Fateless is an extraordinary book that is built for the skeptic in all of us. Kertesz does a fantastic job of putting the reader in the shoes of his protagonist, the mostly-nameless te
...more
Kayla
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 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 r ...more
Χρήστος
Πρώτη ανάγνωση του Κέρτες και κρίνω θετικά το βιβλίο, κυρίως λόγω των τελευταίων σελίδων, καθώς δεν μπορώ να πω ότι δεν μου άρεσε, ωστόσο θα έλεγα πως δεν θα είχα χάσει και τίποτα αν δεν το διάβαζα ποτέ μου. Σίγουρα, αποδίδει μια διαφορετική προσέγγιση στο εύκολο και πολυφορεμένο σε όλες τις τέχνες θέμα του Ολοκαυτώματος, αλλά νομίζω πως αυτό δεν επαρκεί, τουλάχιστον όχι τόσο ώστε να δικαιολογήσει τις 250 σελίδες τις οποίες χρειάστηκε ο συγγραφέας για να μας πει κάτι που θα μπορούσε να είχε εκφρ ...more
Jim
I have read many books about Nazi and Soviet prison camps, but this is the strangest of all. It tells the story of a 15-year-old Hungarian Jew who is arrested on his way to work and sent to Auschwitz. Instead of rubbing the horrors of the camp into our face, he shows his hero, Gyorgy, taking it all one step at a time -- even rejoicing at times despite the ghastliness of his surroundings. His simple faith takes him through experiences at two other camps, Zeitz and Buchenwald, until the latter is ...more
Edgar Trevizo
Ese final es absolutamente sublime. Me hizo sentir incluso culpable por dirigir mi atención a los horrores. La cuestión no es esa, aunque parezca imposible pensar de otra manera. La cuestión es la vida a pesar del horror, la felicidad, el cómo el hombre está tan enamorado de la vida, de toda la vida, que llega a transformar el horror en un puente para la felicidad. Tan enamorado de ella que le duele, cerca de la muerte, dejar de ver "este campo de concentración tan hermoso". Se me saltan las lág ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong description language (combine needed?) 4 42 Aug 05, 2014 05:14PM  
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Born in Budapest in 1929, Imre Kertész was imprisoned at Auschwitz in 1944, and then at Bunchenwald concentration camp. After the war and repatriation, the Soviet seizure of Hungary ended Kertész's brief career as a journalist. He turned to translation, specializing in German language works, and later emigrated to Berlin. Kertész was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002 for "writing that ...more
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“...I would like to live a little bit longer in this beautiful concentration camp.” 14 likes
“As we pass one step, and as we recognize it as being behind us, the next one already rises up before us. By the time we learn everything, we slowly come to understand it. And while you come to understand everything gradually, you don't remain idle at any moment: you are already attending to your new business; you live, you act, you move, you fulfill the new requirements of every new step of development. If, on the other hand, there were no schedule, no gradual enlightenment, if all the knowledge descended on you at once right there in one spot, then it's possible neither your brains nor your heart could bear it.” 10 likes
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