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The Case Worker

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  168 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The daily routine of a man in charge of children at a state welfare organizat and the demands that are made upon him are depicted in this novel set in present day Hungary.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 7th 1987 by Penguin Books (first published 1969)
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Oct 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: schooldaze
I recently heard of a man who, as a very deliberate exercise in recognizing the oneness of all beings, sat in the office of a lockdown mental institution, or perhaps it was a prison, and read every patient’s file, “owning” every atrocious act and the underlying pain-motivations committed by the “untouchables, the maladjusted, the waste products” (101) segregated by society—in essence, healing that part of himself reflected by these people. The story goes that within three months every patient/pr ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great, and I thought, neglected book. I don't know about modern day Hungary though. Pretty sure I read in the seventies and no later than the early 80's. Is that still modern day. I guess from a historical basis it was like yesterday. At the time I read it, I had a job that made it easy to relate to it.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
To be honest: this was really difficult reading. But so rewarding! Konrad is writing about the human condition and it isn't a gorgeous picture, no, this novel is depicting a very dark, cold world, set in a modern city (Budapest is only a nameless role model), through the eyes of a social worker (comrad T.) that handles cases of child abuse, abandonned children and other horrible, insane situations in which children are involved. This world is cruel, inhumane and senseless, but our social worker ...more
Michael Greening
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
Oppressive, claustrophobic novel that will leave a strong impression on you...excellent.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When I learned who George Konrad was through the Best European Fiction series, I nurtured expectations of his other work being pretty good. What I wasn't prepared for was discovering an unknown masterpiece! Not a title I use lightly, by any means, The Case Worker is an incredible work!

In a Communist Hungary that is seedy, wretched and populated with many whores, Konrads' character works at a bureau dealing with numerous cases. It primarily, though not fully, revolves around what he does with a
Gyorgy Konrad's novel "The Case Worker" is incredibly bleak, but well written. I liked the book overall, even though it had some pretty disturbing scenes in it, making it a book I wouldn't particularly want to read again.

The story is set in Hungary, where a social services worker becomes very engaged with one of his clients -- a little boys whose parents have died. The boy has high special needs and no one to take care of him.

The novel is pretty gritty and a bit sad, but presents an interesting
Tjibbe Wubbels
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
Never in my life has a book influenced my emotions like this. In the days I was reading this book I felt generally depressed and out of touch with the world around me. I even had to put it away for a precious.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moeilijk en bij momenten geniaal boek.
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
teh best book
William Baker
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mi történik, ha egyszer nem idézzük meg a szuperegó szellemét, sőt erővel, amennyire lehet, félretaszítjuk, és ítélkezés nélkül nézünk a minket körülvevő életre? Gyönyörű lirikus válasz erre a könyv.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Irving Howe's introduction refers to this novel as "a grotesque-lyrical rumination" and I agree in part. The narrator, Comrade T, relates his observations in long series of qualifiers that describe point-like aspects associated with his surroundings that are intended to give the reader a fuller grasp of the overall environment that the narrator is experiencing. The enumeration of a variety of sounds that taken together paint a partial image of the surroundings. Events are related as if casually ...more
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The world of Konrad's case worker smells like old tobacco, rotting vegetables and people, and an old leather sofa from "imperial" times that seems wildly out of place (and seems to know it).

This story follows a government child welfare bureaucrat in the damp, dirty, hopeless 1960s Budapest who has a brief excursion into the world of his "clients": the mentally and physically undesirable. Konrad constructs a terrifyingly sad world that could only exist in real life, but that can really only be ta
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting, yet uncomfortable and somewhat depressing read. The story follows a state case worker and some of the various families he deals with, from finding homes for children whose parents have committed suicide or removing children from abusive households. Most the story revolves around a severely mentally challenged five-year-old whose parents both committed suicide. The unnamed case worker takes care of him, partly out of pity, partly out of lack of options, but the child is so unruly and ...more
Gijs Grob
In de eerste persoon geschreven roman over een ambtenaar sociale zaken en zijn kijk op zijn cliënten. Bevat mooie, schrijnende verhalen over de zelfkant van de samenleving, en bereikt grote hoogten wanneer de ik-figuur zich over het idiote, behaarde kind van de Bandula's ontfermt, maar de leesbaarheid wordt het hele boek lang ernstig belemmerd door ultralange, opsommende zinnen en schrikbarend lange alinea's. Uiteindelijk is het boek hierdoor meer vermoeiend dan bevredigend.
Sep 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-school
I can honestly say, without any doubt, that this is the worst book I have ever read in my entire life.

Knowing my literature class, however, I'm sure I'll read worse things in the future. But so far this was the worst one, hands down.

I see it has a high rating here, so I guess tastes are different. To each its own. But I didn't like it at all.
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
Powerful book, not quite "lite" reading. Humanitarianism in industrial world.
lyell bark
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
this book is incredibly uncomfortable and depressing.
Kobe Bryant
Nov 21, 2013 rated it liked it
A heart-warming tale of a case worker and an orphan
rated it it was amazing
Nov 29, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Sep 08, 2013
Kyle Kovacevich
rated it it was amazing
Mar 12, 2015
rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2008
Istvan Zoltan
rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2016
Hugo Mortley
rated it it was amazing
Dec 14, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Aug 18, 2012
rated it liked it
Sep 28, 2013
Marc Richardson
rated it it was amazing
Oct 28, 2012
Paul Cornelius
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Mar 04, 2013
David Dort
rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2013
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aka György Konrád

George Konrád is a Hungarian novelist and essayist. Konrád was born in Berettyóújfalu, near Debrecen into an affluent Jewish family. He graduated in 1951 from the Madách Secondary School in Budapest, entered the Lenin Institute and eventually studied literature, sociology and psychology at Eötvös Loránd University. In 1956 he participated in the Hungarian Uprising against the Sovi
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