Fatelessness is a novel written by Imre Kertész. It was first published in 1975. I found this novel incredibly moving, as it deals with a young Hungarian boy, who experiences the horrors of the Holocaust first-hand. I found this novel incredibly touching and sad to read.
Gyuri lives in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. His father is sent to a labor camp, which immediately saddened me when reading it, as I can barely begin to imagine how horrifying and scary it must have been for a young boy to see his father being sent to a labor camp. As if that wasn’t enough, Gyuri then finds himself transported on a train to Auschwitz concentration camp. As a reader, this is horrifying, as I knew what Auschwitz was and therefore, I was able to anticipate what might be happening next in the story. To me, knowing what Gyuri was about to experience made reading the novel even more intense. Apart from Auschwitz, Gyuri spends time in two more concentration camps. These experiences shape his character dramatically, and he has to grow up much quicker than a boy of his age would have had to normally. Again, I found this incredibly sad and difficult, especially when comparing Gyuri’s life with the life of young people nowadays.
When Gyuri finally returns home, at the end of the war, I found it surprising how little empathy and support Gyuri received upon his return. Instead, the journalists and other people he encounters seem to be mainly interested in him from a sensationalist point of view. He tries to explain what he has been through, but he simply can’t get his message across. Again, I found this very sad.