The Pathseeker

The Pathseeker

Translated by Tim Wilkinson

The acclaimed Hungarian Holocaust survivor Imre Kertész continues his investigation of the malignant methodologies of totalitarianism in a major work of fiction.

In a mysterious middle-European country, a man identified only as “the commissioner” undertakes what seems to be a banal trip to a nondescript town with his wife—a brief detour on the way to a holiday at the seaside—that turns into something ominous. Something terrible has happened in the town, something that no one wants to discuss. With his wife watching on fearfully, he commences a perverse investigation, rudely interrogating the locals, inspecting a local landmark with a frightening intensity, traveling to an outlying factory where he confronts the proprietors … and slowly revealing a past he’s been trying to suppress.

In a limpid translation by Tim Wilkinson, this haunting tale lays bare an emotional and psychological landscape ravaged by totalitarianism in one of Kertész’s most devastating examinations of the responsibilities of and for the Holocaust.

Kertesz

IMRE KERTÉSZ was born in Budapest in 1929. He is the author of a trilogy that eventually included The Failure and Kaddish for an Unborn Child. Subsequent titles include LiquidationUnion Jack, and, most recently, a memoir, The File on K. In 2002, Kertész was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He lives in Budapest and Berlin.

TIM WILKINSON is the primary English translator of Imre Kertész as well as numerous other significant works of Hungarian history and literature.

“Kertész’s work is a profound meditation on the great and enduring themes of love, death and the problem of evil, although for Kertész, it’s not evil that is the problem but good.” —John Banville, author of The Sea

“From Imre Kertész, the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature, we have come to expect novels where [his] detectives track themselves, seeking to apprehend their own role in ‘the logic’ of authoritarianism. . . . From a recipe with these ingredients, it is hard to imagine anything but the highest seriousness.The Pathseeker doesn’t disappoint. . . . Kafka comes to mind.” —John Leonard, Harper’s Magazine

“Original and chilling.” —The New York Review of Books

The Pathseeker is a necessary addition to Mr. Kertész’s work in English, and should occasion thanks to both the novelist and his translator, Tim Wilkinson, who has rendered Mr. Kertész’s (famously difficult) Hungarian into a flowing, able English—as well as to Melville House’s fascinating ‘The Contemporary Art of the Novella’ series, which rubric The Pathseeker falls under. . . . And with the introduction of The Pathseeker into English, after 30 years of silence, we should pay grateful and careful attention.” —New York Sun

“[A] profound and puzzling novella… Kertész reminds us that some things can never be named.” —LA Times

“A wonderful opportunity to deepen our understanding of Kertész.” —The Nation

“Nobel Prize Winners Can Sleep Easier” —Daydreamingthe blog for NPR’s Day to Day

“[A] slim, but powerful tale.” —Jewish Book World

 

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