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Detective story - Imre Kertsz

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Detective story
Imre Kertsz
Harvill Secker
UK Publication Date

As readers, we are accustomed to reading stories of war and injustice from the victims' point of view, sympathising with their plight. In Detective Story, the tables have been turned, leaving us in the mind of a monster, as Nobel Laureate Imre Kertsz plunges us into a story of the worst kind, told by a man living outside morality.

Now in prison, Antonio Martens is a torturer for the secret police of a recently defunct dictatorship. He requests and is given writing materials in his cell, and what he has to recount is his involvement in the surveillance, torture, and assassination of Federigo and Enrique Salinas, a prominent father and son whose principled but passive opposition to the regime left them vulnerable to the secret police. Preying upon young Enrique's aimless life, the secret police began to position him as a subversive and then targeted his father. Once this plan was set into motion, any means were justified to reach the regime's chosen end - the destruction of an entire liberal class.

Inside Martens's mind, we inhabit the rationalising world of evil and see first-hand the inherent danger of inertia during times of crisis. A slim, explosive novel of justice railroaded by malevolence, Detective Story is a warning cry for our time.

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Imre Kertsz, who was born in 1929 in Budapest. As a youth, he was imprisoned in Auschwitz and later in Buchenwald. He worked as a journalist and playwright before publishing Fatelessness, his first novel, in 1975. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002.

"The narrative is neat, lucid, written with admirable economy"
Scotsman - Alan Massie


Candid and as black as night.... How these pages shimmer with irony and astute observation...
This is an astonishing performance, as terrifying as Kafka and as plausible

Irish Times - Eileen Battersby

"A sophisticated and brilliant dissection of nihilistic power and its servants, as well as a poignant depiction of the plight of individuals caught up in the mechanism of a barbaric state"
TLS - Joseph Farrell

Hardback original
Keyword Index
Political crimes and offenses - Fiction.|Murderers - Fiction.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages

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