John Murray

Lost Innocence



The Harvill Press 272pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

The Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész bears close comparison to another Holocaust novelist, the Czech Arnošt Lustig. Like Lustig, he endured a number of concentration camps in his mid teens (they both went through Buchenwald and Auschwitz), and both have tried to convey the horror of their experiences through the eyes of their naive heroes. That said, they are very different writers. Put simply, Lustig is strongest at conveying the terrible pathos of those missing years, while Kertész excels at the analysis of a Holocaust victim’s state of mind both during and after the ordeal. The Hungarian writer is an expert at understatement and at shocking us with the candour of his observations. Here is his fourteen-year-old narrator Gyuri describing being herded into some brickyard stables just prior to his deportation to Auschwitz:

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,