The Illiterate

(Author) (Translator)
Product Details
$13.95  $12.97
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
4.61 X 7.26 X 0.2 inches | 0.14 pounds
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About the Author
Ágota Kristóf (1935-2011) was born in Csikvánd, Hungary. Her first novel, The Notebook, won the European Prize for French literature and was translated into forty languages.
Nina Bogin was born in New York City and grew up on the north shore of Long Island. She attended Kirkland College (now Hamilton College) and received a B.A. from New York University. She has lived in France since 1976, has published three books of poetry, and she has received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant.
The Illiterate is the story of a girl who lived for the written word--'I read. It is like a disease, ' she begins--and of what happened to her when her language was taken away. This is a book of relevance today because we live in a world of migration, and Kristóf shows it to us from within. It is one of the last books she wrote, slim and clean, but containing the accumulations of a lifetime.--John Self "Independent on Sunday"
Her descriptions--of those with whom she escaped and whose sense of isolation eventually leads them back to Hungary even at the cost of their lives, as well as those whose sense of despair brings them to suicide--offer an uncomfortable insight into the extreme vulnerability of those obliged to seek asylum abroad.--Eimear McBride "Times Literary Supplement"
This story of exile and loss, of how, for the refugee, the country in which she eventually settles, however kind and well-meaning its inhabitants, will always be a poor and inadequate substitute for the country of one's birth, its language always an alien thing, however proficient she becomes in it--this is the story of so many people today that it is perhaps the story of our time, and Ágota Kristóf should perhaps be seen as our transnational bard.--Gabriel Josipovici
Stark and haunting.-- "The San Francisco Chronicle"
A vision of considerable depth and complexity, a powerful portrait of the nobility and perversity of the human heart.-- "The Christian Science Monitor"
A tiny jewel of a book.-- "Kirkus Reviews"
Sentences hurled with perfect aim at the border between one language and another is quite enough to be going on with as a writer's life's work. But Kristóf's rebel vocabulary does still more; it is more. Think of the various ways in which verbal ornaments act as a veil, suggesting (or negotiating a perception of) fluency. Encountering Kristófian descriptions--those that would rather omit ornament than pursue recognition of having been written with the "inspired" flow of a native speaker--the complacent reader is introduced to profound uncertainties.--Helen Oyeyemi
In fifty pages she does what others might spend a whole career aiming for. Pure genius.--Max Porter