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Book Review: The Pathseeker by Imre Kertesz

Book review By: M J Vale
Literary fiction

First upload at last. Sadly, it's a negative review on a pretentious work of fiction, but hey, we've all got to start somewhere, right...?

Submitted:Jul 18, 2010    Reads: 80    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   

The Pathseeker by Imre Kertesz.

Have some painkillers close to hand for this headache inducing book...

I was drawn to this book strongly on the principle that it's author had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Someone who has one an award so prestigious can't let snobby-old-me down, can it? Actually it can. The Pathseeker is a book about... Well, that's my problem. Reading the book I had no idea whatsoever what was going on in the book. I didn't know where it was set, who the characters were or where they were going, what the story was supposed to be about. All the things you would except to be able to decipher in a book from a book were hidden away under twelve years worth of pretentious tampering on Kertesz's part. The only way I made any sense of it whatsoever was by reading the blurb, the afterword and an essay online on the book itself and how confusing it is. But it seems the most effective way of understanding the book is to sit down with it at a desk, with a dictionary and notepad on one side of you and a pack of highlighters and the biggest pile of books on the structure of literature filled with glossaries brimming with every narrative device known to man on the other side. Though I fear even this wouldn't be sufficient as a lot of the imagery used is in relation to things like poems written by a minor German poet who I would have never heard of were it not for this book. Were I studying this for a Masters or something then of course I would set myself down immediately and work through it grudgingly for hours as I have every other school text. But I read this book partly for pleasure, partly to gain a good understanding of novellas in general. Maybe I'll give it another look one day when I have more time and motivation, when I can sit down and read, read and re-read it all aloud to myself. I'm sure it's possible that one day I'll look back at this book and admire the brilliance for which it's author became so acclaimed for. Though I can't say the same thing for other Nobel winners I hated, so I have doubts about this...

Overall Rating: 4/10


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