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Book review: Hungarian Agota Kristof osäkrar reality itself

”Her name is not Agatha Christie, but Agota Kristof. I'll bring the books tomorrow. Give them only when you have read.” My first contact with this Hungarian

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Book review: Hungarian Agota Kristof osäkrar reality itself

”Her name is not Agatha Christie, but Agota Kristof. I'll bring the books tomorrow. Give them only when you have read.”

My first contact with this Hungarian author, who writes in French, arose after a hard workout in the gym on the magazine. A colleague, Ulrika Village, came to me the day after with the three, to say the least worn French paperbacks, which looked to have survived some hardships. She told me that they were part of her life reading experiences.

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with the hard covers of a volume in English, translated by Marianne Tufvesson and with an excellent afterword by the Danish author Naja Marie Aidt, as well as authors Jon Fosse and Haruki Murakami have been stuck for this very special writing.

Agota Kristof was born in Hungary in 1935, and fled during the Hungarian revolution in 1956 with her husband and their little daughter. They ended up in Neuchâtel, Switzerland and she worked for five years at a clock factory. But at the age of 26, she left both the work and her husband, he had been her history teacher in high school, and learned French in order to be able to write fiction in the new language. She had two children, fought hard for his writing and it became a part of poetry and drama. But the breakthrough came in 1986, when she was 51 years with a ”big exercise book”. The other two parts of the trilogy was released in 1988 and 1991. Agota Kristof was recognized, had great prices and she died in 2011, 76 years old, in Neuchâtel, where she remained throughout the life after the escape.

Kristof himself has talked about the fact that everything she writes is based on the Hungarian experience, and to the French language killed her mother tongue. It is a tense drama in the language and the writing. Read the short autobiography ”Analfabeten” that are released with the trilogy. In which she responds to the questions yourself.

has happened in the transformation, the creation of a private and powerful idiom. The words are French, but the whole is new, it is easy and difficult at once. Wear it with pride. At the same time, easy to read, with short sentences and precise wording. And Marianne Tufvesson has found a credible way to translate her.

It could not have been easy. Agota Kristof has an old-fashioned appeal mixed with modern expressions and twists and turns. And the emotions raging over the whole range from the sinister hardness to the bleeding comers. I can understand Jon Fosses fascination, he also uses a kind of urtidsspråk and old beliefs in the midst of the modern.

the Uniting of the three books is that they are about writing; paper, pens and books. A major manuscripts are written, read, handled and moved through the entire trilogy. Manusbunten is a magical center. But the story is also about escape, frontiers, betrayal, loss, loneliness and the odd communities.

Reluctantly she takes care of the boys, ”horungarna” as she calls them, and they learn how life is to be lived hard and without mercy.

only the language, is central in this remarkable story, it is difficult to navigate in a way that does not reveal too much. The tension keeps the text hard tyglad.

The first book follows two unnamed boys, twins, which the mother in order to save them from the war will leave with its nasty, dirty and brännvinsdrickande mother, referred to as the Witch. The grandmother lives in a village and everyone knows that she has poisoned her husband. Reluctantly, she takes care of the boys, ”horungarna” as she calls them, and they learn through humiliation, beatings, and mockery of how life should be lived hard and without mercy. They are telling their story with a ”we”, never ”I”. They learn to lie and steal. They train themselves to endure the pain by hitting each other until they no longer feel anything.

Even the writing they do in common. And they teach each other that there should not be feelings or interpretations in the writings. No vague expressions. The words for the emotions are not reliable, ”one should ideally avoid them altogether and stick to describe objects, people and oneself, that is to say, faithfully depict the actual conditions”. This seems to be a practice that also applies to the author. She reports in a button, issuing the style.

the village teaches the boys, and the readers, know the inhabitants, who live in poverty and sadness. Some are outcasts, some people commit sexual abuse and incest, exploiting and parasitizing each other in disbelief and suspicion. There is an ongoing human misery. But no one really condemned, it is as it is.

When this part of the trilogy ends begun another, which is all about Lucas. Now is not the other twin is anymore, or how is it? Was he just a fantasy? Then comes Claus into the picture. It must surely be the other twin? Or is it in fact just a boy?

the Stories start over, from the other perspective. We meet the same people stuck in new constellations, the same walnut tree, firmly rooted in new places. Agota Kristof osäkrar the whole story and let everything sway.

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how do I take the first story in the series, seriously, it is the one I believe in. Then comes the other, not to speak of the third, with disturbing meningsinnehåll and other proposals for the description of what happened. But what is it really saying that I should believe in just what I heard, or read, first? Elusive, when they have actually cool is an illusion. Should I suddenly believe in another? And what is strange literary contracts as the reader is included with the fiction?

Agota Kristofs trilogy is an ingenious and distinctive, almost genial, portrayal of war, exile, abandonment, rootlessness, violence and a desperate attempt at survival in the non-named countries, cities and villages. Then and there then arises the love, friendship and closeness, after all.

the Author has a peculiar naivety in the way to portray, she signs their stories clearly, in the simplicity, almost like a child. But rarely have I read something so web composed refined and in-depth original.

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