At the most basic level this novel is, one might say, the story of the kind of fate that might have befallen György (Gyuri) Köves, the 14- going on 15-year-old protagonist of Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness had he not been deported to Auschwitz six months earlier, though most likely both authors would insist—rightly—that their chosen methods—and, indeed, the experiences they underwent—are very different.
Andreï Makine, Russian by birth but writing in French, was one of the
participants at the Budapest Book Festival in April 2011. In a talk organized at the
festival, Makine told his audience about his new book, Alternaissance,
published under the pseudonym of Gabriel Osmonde.
Of course, Lipót Braun was right when he said that what is lost is lost forever. But (and it’s just that): what does it mean to lose something? Does it mean that it has disappeared and is no more, that it was swallowed by the earth; or does it only mean that we don’t see it any longer? And if we don’t see it, do we even miss it?
...the man, while he was reading his essay, deliberately had his tie hang into the soup. His name was Miklós Erdély, and his gesture of having his tie hang into the soup was a forbidden form of artistic expression in Hungary at that time.