Book Reviews,  Europe,  FICTION,  Latin America/Caribbean,  Nazis,  Prize Winner

Detective Story by Imre Kertesz *** (of 4)

A novella about the abuse of dictatorial power in an unnamed South American country. Secret police contrive accusations against a Jewish store owner because they are so paranoid that an incident will destabilize their country that nearly any fact can be construed in their minds into a threat. That’s the plot. Imre Kertesz is a Nobel prize winning Hungarian Holocaust survivor so we can surmise that South America is simply a convenient location for horrors Kertesz has witnessed first hand beneath the twisted logic of first the Nazis and then the Communists. I believe if I had not known the book was written by a Nobel prize winning writer I would not have thought the book as strong. The translation by Tim Wilkinson is very clunky so I cannot be sure if the book is much better in the original Hungarian or whether it was just a toss-off exercise by Kertesz. April 2008.