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Lagraziana's Kalliopeion

This is a blog about my reads as well as everything related to them.

My taste is for good quality literature - old and new. Some of it I review here or on my main book blog Edith's Miscellany.



“No!” I will never forget: Kaddish for an Unborn Child by Imre Kertész

Kaddisch für ein nicht geborenes Kind - Imre Kertész Kaddish for an Unborn Child - Imre Kertész, Tim Wilkinson, Kertsz

Abridged version of my review posted on Edith’s Miscellany on 22 November 2013


The Kaddish is the Jewish prayer for the dead. The narrating protagonist writes his Kaddish for an Unborn Child or to be precise for a son or daughter who could have been, but never even was conceived because he always refused to bring children into a world in which Auschwitz, Buchenwald and concentrations camps like them had been possible. It’s the introspective monologue of a holocaust survivor who feels that he has no right to exist and that his remaining purpose in life is to complete the task which the Nazi bloodhounds began in the concentration camps. So he is constantly “digging his grave in the air” not allowing himself to ever forget and opening ever again the sores. As a natural consequence of his past he is unable to commit to anyone or anything with his entire self, be it his wife, his career, his dwelling – or a child.


Kaddish for an Unborn Child is a slim novel with heavy content. There are no chapters and only few paragraphs; sentences are long and meandering. Form and style are entirely subordinated to the natural flow of the stream of consciousness which also forces a line break whenever the narrator hurls another firm “No!” at his wife and at the world. Also the inner order of the story works like our mind picking up ideas and thoughts on the spur of the moment. So in a certain way it’s a difficult read requiring sometimes to leaf back and to re-read passages to understand properly. The mood of the book is dark and full of grief, but also philosophical and historically instructive.


Highly recommended to everyone who wishes to understand the minds of holocaust survivors and their children.


For the full review please click here to go to my blog Edith’s Miscellany.

Source: http://edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com