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Gyuri, a fourteen-year-old Hungarian Jew, gets the day off school to witness his father signing over the family timber business to the firm's bookkeeper - his final business transaction before being sent to a labour camp. Two months after saying goodbye to his father, Gyuri finds himself assigned to a 'permanent workplace', but within a fortnight he is unexpectedly pulled off a bus and detained without explanation. This is the start of his journey to Auschwitz. On his arrival Gyuri finds that he is unable to identify with other Jews, and in turn is rejected by them. An outsider among his own people, his estrangement makes him a preternaturally acute observer, dogmatically insisting on making sense of everything he witnesses.
Imre Kertesz, who was born in 1929 and imprisoned in Auschwitz as a youth, worked as a journalist and playwright before publishing Fateless, his first novel, in 1975. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002. He lives in Budapest.