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The first word of this haunting vel is ''. It is how the narrator, a middle-aged Hungarian Jewish writer, answers an acquaintance who asks if he has a child and it is how he answered his, w ex-, wife when she told him she wanted a baby. The loss, longing, and regret that haunt the years between those two ''s' give rise to one of the most eloquent meditations ever written on the Holocaust. As Kertesz's narrator addresses the child he couldn't bear to bring into the world, he takes readers on a mesmerizing, lyrical journey through his life, from his childhood to Auschwitz to his failed marriage.
Imre Kertesz was born in 1929 in Budapest. 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 1975. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002.