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Imre Kertész's Fatelessness (Harvill) has won the 2006 Wingate Prize ("established in 1977 by the late Harold Hyam Wingate, the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize is now in its 29th year. The prizes for fiction and non-fiction are each worth £4,000 to each category winner, with £300 also awarded for the runners-ups in each category"):


At the age of 14 Georg Koves is plucked from his home in a Jewish section of Budapest and without any particular malice, placed on a train to Auschwitz. He does not understand the reason for his fate. He doesn’t particularly think of himself as Jewish. And his fellow prisoners, who decry his lack of Yiddish, keep telling him, “You are no Jew.” In the lowest circle of the Holocaust, Georg remains an outsider.

The genius of Imre Kertész’s unblinking novel lies in its refusal to mitigate the strangeness of its events, not least of which is Georg’s dogmatic insistence on making sense of what he witnesses–or pretending that what he witnesses makes sense. Haunting, evocative, and all the more horrifying for its rigorous avoidance of sentiment, Fatelessness is a masterpiece in the traditions of Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, and Tadeusz Borowski.

Let us hope that this will mean all of Kertész's other titles will get translated.

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