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Fateless (The Holocaust series)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,507 Ratings  ·  375 Reviews
Relates the daily life of prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp through the eyes of a fifteen-year-old boy who is deported to the camp with his father.
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published July 1992 by Northwestern University Press (first published 1975)
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Community Reviews

(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
Dec 06, 2014 Hadrian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, hungary
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'
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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
João Carlos
RIP Imre Kertész (1929 - 2016)


Imre Kertész (1929 - 2016) - em Auschwitz (com apenas quinze anos de idade) e na actualidade

Imre Kertész é um escritor húngaro, nascido a 9 de Novembro de 1929, em Budapeste, de religião judaica, sobrevivente ao holocausto nazi durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, deportado com 14 anos de idade, juntamente com milhares de judeus húngaros, para o campo de concentração de Auschwitz e mais tarde transferido para Buchenwald.
Em 2002 Imre Kertész é galardoado com o Prémio
...more
Shovelmonkey1
Feb 24, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Lieberman
Apr 07, 2014 Lisa Lieberman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish-interest
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
qwerty
Apr 05, 2016 qwerty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ο Kertesz με διχάζει και είναι ένας συγγραφέας που με βάζει σε πειρασμό να τον κρίνω. Ό,τι εχω διαβάσει από αυτόν είναι αυτοβιογραφικό ("Μυθιστόρημα ενός ανθρώπου δίχως πεπρωμένο" και "Καντίς για ένα αγέννητο παιδί"). Ίσως έχει έναν ιδιαίτερο τρόπο σκέψης, ο οποίος μου φαίνεται παράδοξος.
Σαφώς και δεν ανταποκρίνεται στις προσδοκίες ενός αναγνώστη που διαβάζει για το Άουσβιτς. Με προβλημάτισε και αναρωτιέμαι εάν όλα αυτά τα απάνθρωπα που έβλεπε να γίνονται γύρω του, τον άγγιξαν. Ίσως είναι ψυχρό
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 10, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Ariunzaya
Feb 25, 2016 Ariunzaya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Чамайг нэгэн өдөр гэрээсээ гараад албадлагаар өдөр бүр хийдэг ажил руугаа очихоор явж байхад чинь хэзээ ч очиж байгаагүй харь нутаг руу, хэнийг нь ч танихгүй мянга мянган хүний хамт ачаа бараа мэт л аваад явна. Тэгэхдээ тэд чамайг "ажил хийлгэнэ", "ая тухтай байлгана" гэж ярьна. Тэгтэл ширүүн хандахгүй ч, хүчилж дарамтлахгүй ч тэдэнд итгээд дагахаас өөр замгүй. Учир нь чи бол "новшийн жүүд". Жүүд болж төрсөн тул чиний гэм буруугүй эсэх, үнэнхүү сайн хөвүүн, үлгэр жишээч сурагч байсан эсэх чинь ...more
Skip
Jan 16, 2016 Skip rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Kertesz has written a semi-autobiographical novel about a fourteen year-old boy who gets mysteriously deported from Hungary to a Jewish concentration camp. The protagonist (George Koves) spends a mere three days in Auschwitz, which he recalled as rather pleasant, before being forwarded to work camps at Buchenwald and Zeitz. I am not sure George Koves ever recovered from his shock at being grabbed, and he spends all of his time trying to rationalize the senseless acts he saw around him while he w ...more
Claudia
Apr 15, 2016 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rezi folgt.
Nate D
Dec 21, 2011 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the inadequate and unprocessable
Recommended to Nate D by: those who do not remember history...
Shelves: hungary, read-in-2011
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
Feb 02, 2014 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shoah
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.
[P]
Mar 07, 2015 [P] rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 31, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 29, 2012 Vladislav rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-novels
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
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
Tânia F
Kathrina
May 20, 2010 Kathrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hungarian
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
Tony
Jun 16, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aba Mafalba
Aug 13, 2015 Aba Mafalba rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ανορθόδοξο μυθιστόρημα, αιρετικό θα έλεγε κανείς.
Η γραφή του Κέρτες μου άρεσε πολύ. 4,5 αστεράκια για την ακρίβεια.
Cemil
Aug 02, 2015 Cemil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tariq Alferis
Jul 24, 2015 Tariq Alferis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

..
"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
Philippe Malzieu
Short sentences, a certain distance from the narrator compared to theaction. An influence of Camus asserted. But this style was essential to describe the indescribable. I remember Budapest. My hotel was close to the old synagogue. It is not visited but the engraved stones are visible behind the grids. In this beautiful city I felt an infinite unhappiness.
To be 15 years old with Auschwitz, to escape death, then to undergo vexations of the Communists because he wanted to perpetuate the memory of S
...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
Dec 23, 2012 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong description language (combine needed?) 4 46 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
More about Imre Kertész...

Other Books in the Series

The Holocaust series (4 books)
  • Fiasco
  • Kaddish for an Unborn Child
  • Liquidation

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“...I would like to live a little bit longer in this beautiful concentration camp.” 17 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.” 17 likes
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