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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Tim Wilkinson Translator. It is the answer he gave his wife now ex-wife years earlier when she told him she wanted one. Kaddish for the Unborn Child is a work of staggering power, lit by flashes of perverse wit and fueled by the energy of its wholly original voice.
Translated by Tim Wilkinson Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published November 9th by Vintage first published More Details Original Title. The Holocaust. Other Editions Friend Reviews.
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A man who tries very hard to explain his thoughts, his rationality about his decision to not father a child. A man who had been imprisoned, like the author himself, in Auschwitz which left him with a great deal survivor guilt, and trying to make sense of a world that would allow something like this to happen, even exist. This is a difficult book to read, it is a stream of consciousness novel, thoughts coming quickly and often circuitous.
There is so many thoughts in this book, I reread sections again and again, and also read this with two other group friends and despite their added insights still do not feel I have a firm grasp on everything meant to be conveyed. At times I felt the words were angry, almost flung at me, his torment, his regret, his longing, filling the pages. His need to keep writing just to feel as if he exists, his trying to explain the events that were in place, people's apathy, that allowed the Holocaust to destroy so much.
I originally rated this a three, but have upped it to four because I find I can't quite get it out of my mind. It is important to realize that the author was imprisoned in both Auschwitz and then Buchenwald so this I believe is an autobiographical novel. View all 22 comments.
Questions what his sense of Jewishness really means, contradicts or destructs sentiments like "Auschwitz cannot be explained," realizes that he must work to live and work sets him free into what's essentially a prison of melancholy and pain, an existence that denies life, the only existence possible for him, which ultimately undermines his marriage to a woman who chooses life and children. It turned out that to write about life means to think about life, to think about life is to question it, and the only one to question the element of his life is one suffocated by it or feeling out of place for one reason or another.
It turns out, I don't write to find joy; on the contrary, it turns out, I seek pain, the sharper the better, bordering on the unbearable sort, quite probably because pain is truth, and the answer to the question of what constitutes truth is quite simple, I wrote: truth is what consumes.
An approach that follows its instinct or its anti-instinct. Repeats "so to say" a lot and every time it distracted me since it seems like people say "so to speak. A few typos in my edition. Either I read the last ten pages poorly or the last ten pages when he reveals the end and the aftermath of his marriage didn't quite hold my attention as some of the previous pages had, but I read them in bed super-tired and so I probably failed them.
Will try to re-read I'm thinking about a year of re-reading starting May 1 to celebrate my year anniversary of writing reviews on here. The sort of short dense real hefty novel I love. View all 3 comments. September Reading this for a second time, now as a group read. The discussion is thought provoking and is enhancing my understanding of the book. Finished for a second time- there ar a lot of layers to the book.
Beautiful and moving writing, and I'll probably read it another time at some stage. April I found this book difficult, both emotionally and because its style is complicated. I intend to re-read it at some stage, especially if I can do this as a readalong, so that I have people to d September Reading this for a second time, now as a group read. I intend to re-read it at some stage, especially if I can do this as a readalong, so that I have people to discuss with on the way.
Available on Openlibrary. Your novel Kaddish for an Unborn Child maybe a whopping pages or so, it packs so much into those pages. My three stars are not because I found this average, but more so there is so much in this text, that I would need to re-read this over and over to gain further understanding and meaning, it is a text that requires to be slowly read 3 Stars Dear Mr Kertesz, This text only passed my eyes because of my uni subject, where it is apart of the curriculum, it probably would've made my TBR otherwise.
My three stars are not because I found this average, but more so there is so much in this text, that I would need to re-read this over and over to gain further understanding and meaning, it is a text that requires to be slowly read in small doses to able to decipher your intentions.
For my first read through, I struggled to connect to your narrator because of this overload of messaging and meaning. I wasn't able to do it that kind of justice and I feel even if I didn't have the time constraints I am just not that style of reader.
The format was a steady stream of consciousness thoughts, which were hard to engage at times and I think add in the fact that the text has been translated from Hungarian to English at times there wasn't this easy sense or reason.
While it was hard work and I was overly disconnected from the narrator, I could feel the disconnect he felt from the world, the disorientation of his place in the world, a world where he was intended to cease to exist not by his choice and the insights that had garnered him throughout his life. Maybe one day I'll give it another read and see how it goes?
See if I find it easier? See if I gain some new insights? Wilson and Katharina M. The publisher was not willing to do new translations. It was a really bad feeling. It was as if you had a very sane character who has a rendezvous with the reader and the person who shows up is basically a real jerk, with a stammer, bad breath and a foul mouth.
While the Wilsons are guilty of egregious sins of omission, they served their Muir roles with selflessness husband and wife Edwin and Willa Muir being the first, though flawed, translators of Kafka , having Englished an uncompromising writer of inaccessible Europe relatively early and well.
View all 4 comments. Feb 19, Seth the Zest rated it really liked it Shelves: books-read While I had planned to read only twenty pages today because the books so dense, I found myself so drawn into the book that I had to finish almost all of it in one burst. I realized after a few pages that a paragraph hadn't ended and so I naturally wanted to see when it would so I could put the book down and go do something else.
I believe it lasted twenty pages. So I then looked for a logical stopping point but couldn't find one. And one thing led to another and I finished it as if in a dream. T While I had planned to read only twenty pages today because the books so dense, I found myself so drawn into the book that I had to finish almost all of it in one burst.
The intensity of the book so overwhelmed me that I couldn't stop reading. This was one of the strangest, densest, bravest, and most brilliant and beautiful things I've ever read. This piercing unbroken paragraph novella ups the emotional and philosophical ante concerning the Shoah and leaves only scorched earth and tattered memories in its wake. Throughout the work there a number of nods to Bernhard, whereas Kertesz further gilds the homage to the Austrian with trademark recurrences and stilted rhythms.
These circumstances extend beyond, of course. The decision reached is also an imperative, one which still bears considerable weight.
Aug 04, Brandon Prince rated it it was amazing. Rarely have the contradictions and unity between domination and freedom been so powerfully realized in a work of fiction. A definitive work of critical holocaust literature, Kaddish draws attention to the tenuous threshold that connects the horrors of Auschwitz to the banal assimilations of everyday life. Absolutely brilliant. One of the greatest books I have ever read. Nov 07, Kris McCracken rated it it was ok. If Fatelessness offered a relatively conventional narrative approach, Kaddish for an Unborn Child, written fifteen years later, is anything but.
It is a difficult novel of repetition and ambiguity, the narrator acknowledging all his uncertainty, and constantly reminding the reader of the difficulty of exact expression. Broadly, the novel is a meditation on the narrator's failed marriage, and in particular, his refusal to have children.
Kaddish for an Unborn Child
It is how a middle-aged Hungarian-Jewish writer answers an acquaintance who asks him if he has a child, and it is how he answered his wife years earlier when she told him that she wanted one. The loss, longing and regret that haunt the years between these two 'No! I may have given the impression that this is harrowing, and it is; but it has its moments of great, consoling insight, is about far more than just the Holocaust and in its own haunting way provides comfort for the afflicted". As a youth, he was imprisoned in Auschwitz and later in Buchenwald. He worked as a journalist and playwright before publishing Fateless, his first novel, in
Kaddish for an Unborn Child by Imre Kertész
He was liberated in , and returned to Budapest, where he became a Communist, then a dissident journalist and a novelist, essayist, and translator. In , he was awarded Nobel Prize in Literature. What follows is an excerpt. You know, this is just like the interviews with elderly survivors in that Spielberg series. Which in your case I know is based on reality. How was it that you came to be in that narrow courtyard at the gendarmerie barracks? A minute later and I was standing there, in the yard, under a moonlit sky across which successive squadrons of bomber aircraft were passing.
Imre Kertész Speaks to Himself
That may be the toughest censorship of all. The first noticeable aspect of Kaddish is its style, which is so highly indebted to Thomas Bernhard's that the matter of plagiarism can be discounted — and the debt is explicitly acknowledged, anyway. The extract gives you a flavour, and note the rhetorical throat-clearing of "as it were", the progression of impossibilities other people, nature, himself the audacious proposal that harmony with oneself is morally impoverished, and you begin to get the idea; you also get the idea that Tim Wilkinson is a seriously good translator. The word that sounds throughout the book is "No! You may already suspect, in broad detail, the reasons why the narrator should so vehemently refuse to be a father, but the particular reasons, revealed towards the end of this short but punishing book, are astonishing, even if you have by then become prepared for being astonished.
Kaddish For An Unborn Child
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