My copy is published under "The Book of Lies". My first book of is a favorite. I am a lucky dog. I never wanted to stop reading them.

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A couple of examples should suffice. One night, they find themselves sleeping in the same bed as a German officer, a tormented gay masochist. Keep sleeping. We have to go. Do it here. On my face. A true work of love, if there ever was one! Along these lines, it is easy for me to imagine a situation in which I would be ready, without any moral qualms, to murder someone, even if I knew that this person did not kill anyone directly.

Reading reports about torture in Latin American military regimes, I found particularly repulsive the regular figure of a doctor who helped the actual torturers conduct their business in the most efficient way: he examined the victim and monitored the process, letting the torturers know how much the victim will be able to endure, what kind of tortures would inflict the most unbearable pain, etc.

I must admit that if I were to encounter such a person, knowing that there is little chance of bringing him to legal justice, and be given the opportunity to murder him discreetly, I would simply do it, with a minimum of remorse about taking justice in my own hands. What is crucial in such cases is to avoid the fascination of evil that propels us to elevate torturers into demonic transgressors who have the strength to overcome our petty moral considerations and act freely.

Torturers are not beyond good and evil, they are beneath it. They do not heroically transgress our shared ethical rules, they simply lack them. The two brothers also blackmail the priest: they threaten to let everybody know how he sexually molested Harelip, a girl who needs help to survive, demanding a weekly sum of money from him.

But Harelip and her mother absolutely need money. You have given enough. We took your money when it was absolutely necessary. Now we earn enough money to give some to Harelip. We have also taught her to work. One day, the twins put on torn clothes and go begging. Passing women give them apples and biscuits and one of them even strokes their hair. Another woman invites them to her home to do some work, for which she will feed them.

We are not hungry. And impertinent too! It is impossible to throw away the stroking on our hair. This is where I stand, how I would love to be: an ethical monster without empathy, doing what is to be done in a weird coincidence of blind spontaneity and reflexive distance, helping others while avoiding their disgusting proximity. With more people like this, the world would have been a pleasant place in which sentimentality would be replaced by a cold and cruel passion.


The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie: Three Novels

During the chaos of the uprising, she managed to escape, settling eventually in Switzerland. By she had learnt enough French to publish a remarkable short novel, The Notebook, released in an English translation in The Notebook Trilogy by Agata Kristof. The Notebook is an extraordinarily powerful work: taut, disciplined, laconic and profoundly unsettling. The narrative is set in an unnamed village on the outskirts of an unnamed town in an unnamed country during an unidentified war.



At the age of 21 she had to leave her country when the Hungarian anti-communist revolution was suppressed by the Soviet military. After 5 years of loneliness and exile, she quit her work in a factory and left her husband. She started studying French and began to write novels in that language. It was the beginning of a trilogy. The sequel titled The Proof came 2 years later. The third part was published in under the title The Third Lie.


Ágota Kristóf's The Notebook awoke in me a cold and cruel passion

A couple of examples should suffice. One night, they find themselves sleeping in the same bed as a German officer, a tormented gay masochist. Keep sleeping. We have to go. Do it here. On my face.


Ágota Kristóf


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