Dossier K
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Dossier K

Dossier K is Imre Kertész’s response to the hasty biographies and profiles that followed his 2002 Nobel Prize, an attempt to set the record straight. But, as befits Kertész, it’s a beautifully roundabout way of going straight: Kertész faces and interrogates himself about the issues and events that have long preoccupied him, while also dealing with the questions that really annoy him (such as, “Is your work autobiographical?”).

The result is an extraordinary self-portrait, in which Kertész recounts memories of his childhood in Budapest; the years that lead up to the Second World War and his first encounters with anti-Semitism; the incredible forged record of his death in Buchenwald that may in fact have saved his life; his release from the camps and his return to his family; Hungary’s Rákosi and Kádár regimes and the terror, hypocrisy, and absurdity they entailed; his thoughts about what other writers have written about the Holocaust; his two marriages; and his long development as a writer.

This is a surprising and provocative autobiography that delves into questions about the legacy of the Holocaust, fiction and reality, and what Kertész calls “the wonderful burden of being responsible for yourself.

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