A SWORN STATEMENT, by Imre Kertész
Imre Kertész is a Jewish-Hungarian writer currently living in Berlin. He is the author of over 15 books and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature for his loosely fictional novel "Fatelessness", which depicted the brutal journey of a teenage Hungarian boy through three separate Nazi concentration camps. One of the most significant novelists alive today, Kertész has used literature as a platform to conduct existential explorations into the human consequences of fascism and totalitarianism ("Fatelessness", "Fiasco"), and used narrative as a confessional to examine memory and identity in the wake of genocide ("Kaddish for an Unborn Child", "The Pathseeker").
"A Sworn Statement" is the only short story of his yet to have appeared in English. Originally published in the Hungarian Quarterly in 2001, it was available online until being taken down in mid-2012. In this story, Kertész recalls an experience attempting to take a trip to Vienna from Budapest during the period of the Stalinist People's Republic of Hungary -- however, his attempted passage gets foiled by a series of customs agents who confiscate his money and deny his leave of Hungary for mysterious, seemingly arbitrary reasons. Kertész intends to pit his fragile, human narrative -- his "sworn statement" -- against the cold yet ultimately factual report one must assume exists stored away in a dark ministry or bureau somewhere. A heartwrenching, maddening investigation into the psychic treachery that is policing, penned in Kertész's characteristically beautiful, colloquial prose.
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