The Union Jack
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The Union Jack

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  72 ratings  ·  12 reviews
"It was...unnecessary for me to fret about who the murderer was: Everybody was."

A haunting, never-before-translated, autobiographical novella by the 2002 Nobel Prize winner.

An unnamed narrator recounts a simple anecdote, his sighting of the Union Jack—the British Flag—during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, in the few days preceding the uprising's brutal repression by th...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published January 19th 2010 by Melville House (first published 1991)
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I was bowled over by the torrents of rushing, tumbling, clever words in this great run-on sentence of a book that is best read in one sitting, and, yes, the story is a thinly-veiled autobiography and, yes, it's supposed to be about the epiphany of the author upon seeing a British flag during the Hungarian Revolution, but the flag-spotting episode is really short and tacked on the end and pretty much besides the point of the story, which is mostly the author lamenting the fact that he is unable t...more
Rafal Cebula
This is a slightly fictionalized auto biographical story of a man sitting with a group of people who want him to tell a story of when he saw the union jack. He then spends the next 9/10ths of the book talking about his life and how people want him to tell the story of the union jack. And eventually tells the (lackluster) story of how he saw the union jack. This was, hopefully another one that got lost in translation (more so cultural than linguistic).
Kertész, in the able hands of translator Tim Wilkinson, proves, once again, why he is the best writer of post-WW2 Europe. He can do more in a short work of fiction than any writer I have read, save Kafka.

He won the Nobel Prize in 2002 but remains obscure in this country. I hope these fine editions of his novellas by Melville House will change that.

Melville House is quickly becoming my favorite imprint, by the way. In addition to the Kertész translations, they published a new title by Nanni Balle...more
Manuhuia Barcham
Fun to read! I love Novellas. I think they're an undeveloped literary form and I'm always keen to support the form. Good on Melville house publishing!

The work itself is dense - and has an interesting use of longer sentence structures - which provides a greater sense of involvement in the development of the protagonists through of the course of the narrative.
Veronica Molina
Es un libro interesante, sobre todo por el toque autobiográfico del autor (húngaro), contextualizado entre fines de los 80 y comienzos de los 90.
Pero... Ñe. Denso. No me atrajo mucho la atención.
Fatema Alammar
يروقني هذا الكاتب، يمتلك قلما رهيبا.
القراءة له تشبه النظر للأمور بالاستعانة بمصباح مضيء جدا، قد يُرهق العين، لكنك ترضى عن النتيجة في النهاية

(في آخر المطاف هزتني زوجتي، لكني في الحقيقة لم أعرف هل أيقظتني من حلمي أم من حياتي، كم هو هش الفارق بينهما)
Ayman  Agour
الكتاب عبارة عن قصتين الأول (الراية الإنجليزية)، والثانية (المحضر) .. أفضل تسميتهما حوار مع الذات .. يجول إمرى كرتيز فى ذاته .. أحسست بمرارته عندما عبر عن وطنه الذى كان وطناً للقمع والمعاناة لأنى أعيش هذا القمع والمعاناة فى وطنى ..

تقييمى 3 نجوم
Hmm... it was alright. It's less than 100 pages and it was still a difficult read. I just wasn't in the mood to give it the required thought.
Alexander Lesher
Not even sure what I read. Definitely reminded me of Sebald in its approach!
Taha barad
اعتقد انني لم افهمة جيدا .. ربما سأعود لها في زمن لاحق
I'm not sure if I got it?
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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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“أن تتحلى بالأخلاق فى عالم بلا أخلاق أمر غير أخلاقى.” 5 likes
“منذ أن خاضت بلادى حربها ضد العالم المتحضر وبالدرجة الأولى ضد نفسها كانت كل القوانين لا قانونية.” 2 likes
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