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The Illiterate

Authors: Agota Kristof

Published by CB Editions

ISBN: 9780957326620

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Unavailable in the UK for over twenty years, Agota Kristof ’s modern European classic The Notebook is re-issued by CB Editions alongside the first English translation of The Illiterate, Kristof ’s memoir of how she escaped from Hungary in 1956, was given refuge in Switzerland, and began to write The Notebook.

From the introduction by Gabriel Josipovici:

“This story of exile and loss, of how, for the refugee,
the country in which she eventually settles, however
kind and well-meaning its inhabitants, will always be a
poor and inadequate substitute for the country of one’s
birth, its language always an alien thing, however
proficient she becomes in it – this is the story of
so many people today that it is perhaps the story
of our time, and Agota Kristof should perhaps be
seen as our transnational bard.”

Agota Kristof, born in Csikvand, Hungary, in 1935, became an exile in French-speaking Switzerland in 1956. Working in a factory, she slowly learned the language of her adopted country. Her first novel, Le Grand Cahier (1986; The Notebook), was translated into more than 30 languages. She wrote plays as well as further novels. She died in 2011. Nina Bogin, born in New York in 1952, has lived in France since 1976. She has published three acclaimed collections of poetry, most recently The Lost Hare (Anvil, 2012). Gabriel Josipovici, born in Nice in 1940, has lived in England since 1956. His work includes fiction, criticism and drama, and have been widely translated.

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