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Difficult, difficult. How to write about this book without giving anything away? It was a slow revelation, and very effective because of that. I want all its new readers to have a similar experience. Well, alright, I can tell you one thing: this is a story about twin brothers who are brought to live with their grandmother in a small village in Hungary during WWII.
If I go further than that, I think it will spoil everything. Anyone heard of Agota Kristof? I followed suit and had a similar experience. Kristof is a Hungarian writer who lives in Switzerland and writes in French.
These are all available from Grove Press in English translation. Such a deceptively simple little novel. An easy story — two boys must leave the city to live in the safer countryside during the war.
Yet, the novel quite simply explodes with little horrors. The book is horrifying. This whole trick about not knowing what the book is about is key. Of course the book is about WWII, about the separation of families, about violence, about neighbors helping neighbors and neighbors hurting neighbors. They are telling their story as one of a series of imposed exercises, recording events in their notebook. Now I have to see if my library has copies of these?
That sounds fascinating. Like you I felt it was deceptively simple but had great depth. And I see that Grove came out with a single volume of all three, very handy! Lilian — Hard reading but thoughtful books. So I had a similar experience.
Haunting is the right word. My reaction to the first novel is here. I read that book in two sittings, and I tore through it. I was insanely curious about where […]. Although I read an edition from […]. Newer post Older post. Like this: Like Loading Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.
Starting with the study of The Notebook by Agota Kristof, this paper examines the way the state of war expels often brutally the child of its child's position, assigning him her a problematic place, particularly in the succession of generations. However, this loss of humanity can be regarded as a technique — certainly mutilating — of survival. Un enfant erre dans des ruines, fait un travail de fossoyeur, puis de pourvoyeur de nourriture. Ils restent au lit tard le matin pour essayer de tromper leur estomac en dormant pendant un repas qu'ils ne peuvent lui procurer. Pas seulement les synonymes, mais aussi les antonymes. Ses boyaux lui sortent du ventre. Elle est rouge partout.
Le grand cahier