The idea of this Guide came from UC International. It is based on the list A Year of Reading Around the World compiled by Ann Morgan, a freelance writer who challenged herself to read a work from each of the countries of the world in the year of London Olympics. Her year of reading resulted in the book published in the United States under the title The World Between Two Covers.
Just like the original list, this Guide features books in the English translation to maximize the number of people who can read them. We have modified the list to include titles available at UC Libraries or through OhioLINK. Working on the Guide motivated us to review and expand our collection of titles by authors from various countries. We hope that the Guide will grow thanks to your suggestions.
We'll be rotating the titles for the UC community to learn more about the literatures of various countries.Please suggest your favorite international titles.
Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz. New York : Vintage International, 2004. Langsam Stacks PH3281.K3815 S6713 2004.
The book's author, Imre Kertesz, was a Hungarian novelist and a Nazi concentration camp survivor. He died on March 31, 2016, at age 86. In 2002 Kertesz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2002 "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history". He was the first Hungarian writer to receive the award.
In his Nobel lecture Imre Kertesz shared that as he was preparing for the lecture he received a letter the director of the Buchenwald Memorial Center.
"The envelope contained a copy of the original daily report on the camp's prisoners for February 18, 1945. In the "Abgänge", that is, the "Decrement" column, I learned about the death of Prisoner #64,921 - Imre Kertész, factory worker, born in 1927. The two false data: the year of my birth and my occupation were entered in the official registry when I was brought to Buchenwald. I had made myself two years older so I wouldn't be classified as a child, and had said worker rather than student to appear more useful to them.
In short, I died once, so I could live. Perhaps that is my real story."
UC Libraries' collection has a number of works by Imre Kertesz in the English translation. Fatelessness (1975) is the author's best known book. It describes the experience of a teenage boy in three concentration camps. A film based on the novel was released in 2005. The film is available through OhioLINK. Kertesz continued the Holocaust theme in his novels Fiasco (1988) and Kaddish for a Child Not Born (1990).
We would like to feature a book from a different country every month. Please suggest a book to be featured in the future. It would be great if with your suggestion you included a brief personal essay on why the book/author is special to you.or important for understanding a country or culture.