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2016.11.09 =>

His face grew calmer, he then turned toward me. “Have you come from Germany, son?” “Yes.” “From the concentration camps?” “Naturally.” “Which one?” “Buchenwald.” Yes, he had heard of it; he knew it was “one of the pits of the Nazi hell,” as he put it. “Where did they carry you off from?” “From Budapest.” “How long were you there?” “A year in total.” “You must have seen a lot, young fellow, a lot of terrible things,” he rejoined, but I said nothing. “Still,” he countered, “the main thing is that it’s over, in the past,” and, his face brightening, he gestured to the houses that we happened to be rumbling past and inquired what I was feeling now, back home again and seeing the city that I had left. “Hatred,” I told him. He fell silent at that but soon volunteered that, sadly, he had to understand why I felt that way. In any case, “under the circumstances,” he reckoned, hatred too had its place, its role, “even its uses,” adding that he supposed we could agree on that, and he was well aware whom I must hate. “Everyone,” I told him. He fell silent, this time for a longer period, before starting up again: “Did you have to endure many horrors?” to which I replied that it all depended what he considered to be a horror. No doubt, he declared, his expression now somewhat uneasy, I had undergone a lot of deprivation, hunger, and more than likely they had beaten me, to which I said: naturally. “Why, my dear boy,” he exclaimed, though now, so it seemed to me, on the verge of losing his patience, “do you keep on saying ‘naturally,’ and always about things that are not at all natural?” I told him that in a concentration camp they were natural. “Yes, of course, of course,” he says, “they were there, but…," and he broke off, hesitating slightly, “but…I mean, a concentration camp in itself is unnatural,” finally hitting on the right word as it were. I didn’t even bother saying anything to this.

—Imre Kertész, Fatelessness

<= 2016.10.08

2016.11.09 =>

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The Warm South
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