Andrea's Reviews > Fatelessness

Fatelessness by Imre Kertész
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's review
Apr 28, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, budapest-trip, in-translation, bio-memior-ish

This is a fiction book about a Jewish boy held in Auschwitz concentration camp and Buchenwald and Zeitz work campus during the Holocaust by a man who had a similar experience. He tells the tale matter-of-factually, as he experiences it. A lot of details just build to provide a picture of how commonplace and every-day horror can become as humans try to survive moment to moment. As he tries to explain to his family on returning home how hope, and longing for stability, and ethics have led everyone involved who is still alive to follow this path through to fruition, everyone he tries to explain it to becomes horrified. He speculates on the happiness in the concentration campus and on how anyone who came to these realizations all at once, instead of minute by minute as they were forced to live and find food and work and move, might collapse.

Honestly, it kept occurring to me while I was traveling in unknown places after finishing the book that I was sometimes following signs in underground places that were little populated for long distances, and I was just doing what the signs suggested I do next. Just hoping that it would get me where I needed to be without much thought, and I would think of the beginning of the books as people are transported to the camps almost without protest. Then I would feel ridiculous for my mundane comparison in face of such atrocities, then I would think about how the mundane nature of a lot of it was kind of his point, but it didn't make me feel less guilty.

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