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He began publishing his own fiction late, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in Awaiting his own firing squad, Martens has requested writing material in his cell. This novel is his written confession. What it lacks in suspense it reparates in emotional acuity. He also knew that it had happened around there.

It was painful, still painful, even to talk about it. The next morning, the commissioner and his wife embark on this, their final investigation, before taking a seaside vacation.

The Contemporary Art of the Novella

They travel by bus through the provinces to a gatehouse beset by tourists. Later, a veiled woman disturbs lunch at a grand hotel.

The town from which the buses depart, and that gives the commissioner his image of the Inferno, is nowhere but nearby Weimar. I would like to say two words about the business and translation of books.

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Such are the hopes of multinational publishing. Wilson and Katharina M. The publisher was not willing to do new translations. It was a really bad feeling.

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Slender though it is, "The Pathseeker" is a necessary addition to Mr. In the course of the commissioner's oblique, forceful probing, what once appeared to be an almost comically banal evening with the European bourgeoisie soon opens into a discussion of witness, testimony, memory, and guilt, centered around a "case" that occurred in a rural town near Hermann's residence. The commissioner is hindered and deflected at every turn, by bus schedules, by the importuning of his wife, by his own doubts and his strange, constricting, private morality, by the close-mouthedness of locals and their tendency to sweep away historical debris, and by a series of unnerving events, culminating in a traffic jam as harrowing as Dante's vision of hell, and a stranger's seemingly pointless, sinister suicide.

In the end, morally overwhelmed, the commissioner abandons his case with little fanfare and sets off with his wife on their long-promised trip to the beach. Anonymity, elliptical speech, a fluid, almost euphuistic beauty, and an obdurate refusal on Mr.

The Contemporary Art of the Novella Series

But Mr. And precisely because Mr.

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Kertesz refuses to speak with full openness about the scenery, its history, and his protagonist's deep and damaging relation to both, "The Pathseeker" avoids even the slightest tendency toward ethical didacticism, a great risk when writing about the Holocaust. For that is, as intelligent readers will discern after only a few pages, the true subject of "The Pathseeker.

In spite of Adorno's statement, which contains a condemnation not only of poetry specifically but of the capacity of imaginative literature to create meaning, to matter, in the wake of the moral crisis of the Holocaust, Mr. The true power of Mr. Had they tricked him? Or had he gotten it wrong? In the course of "Fatelessness," his most well-known novel, Mr. That reality, too, can seem silently tautological, but Mr.


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And with the introduction of "The Pathseeker" into English, after 30 years of silence, we should pay grateful and careful attention. Submission of reader comments is restricted to NY Sun sustaining members only. If you are not yet a member, please click here to join. If you are already a member, please log in here:.