03. 27. 2006. 09:22

The K File

A new novel by Imre Kertész

K. dosszié (The K File), a new autobiographical novel written by Imre Kertész, has been published lately by Magveto Publishing. The book is, Kertész says, “uniquely personal”, written with the pronounced purpose of clearing up the misunderstandings that have been surrounding him since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002.

The initial idea of publishing a Kertész biography came from Géza Morcsányi, director of Magveto, in 2002. However, the series of interviews between Zoltán Hafner and the writer that was to provide raw material for the biography took one and a half years and some dozen tapes to finish. Kertész needed yet another 18 months to rewrite the dialogues as prose. The result is a novel not divided into chapters, but written in a peculiarly beautiful, uninterrupted flow of words. This form is rather different from that of his earlier novels - the bound form of which, as he confesses, has always prevented him from raconteuring.

76-year-old Imre Kertész worked on his book, which he calls "an autobiography composed for two voices” in a small Swiss town, in Chicago, in Berlin, and in Budapest over one and a half years. The novel is about his life, his parents, his romantic relationships, his career, his fight for intellectual freedom as well as the connection between his life and the heroes of his fiction. Besides many other deeply intimate issues, he discusses the question whether individually experienced horrors are proper subject matter for literary works of art, and if so, how much of those experiences should be shared with readers.

The novel was introduced to the public on 23 March at Radnóti Theatre, Budapest, where literary historian László Szörényi interviewed the author on his book. Parts of the novel were also read aloud by host András Bálint and Imre Kertész.

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