The Proof

Agota Kristof, Author
Agota Kristof, Author Grove/Atlantic $17.95 (154p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1112-8
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
A sequel to Swiss writer Kristof's acclaimed first novel, The Notebook , this volume continues the tale of Lucas T., inhabitant of a desolate bordertown in an unnamed country (which bears a strong resemblance to pre- glasnost East Germany) ruled by a repressive dictatorship. Thought to be an idiot, Lucas ekes out a meager living playing his harmonica in bars and farming his late grandmother's small plot of land. His life is changed radically when Yasmine, another outcast, and her crippled infant, Mathias, turn up on his doorstep. Kristof tells her story in a deadened, affectless present tense that renders all the more frightening this world of people driven to the edge by desperation, fear and emotional hunger. Her characters are all obsessed--with an insomniac neighbor, a dead husband, a missing brother--and all psychologically scarred. Kristof offers a litany of unexamined daily life, interrupted occasionally by such grisly items as the skeletons of Lucas's mother and sister hanging in his attic. Ultimately, this is a strange, elliptical book with a disturbing and cryptic ending that turns back on itself like a cross between Kakfa and Borges. Not to all tastes, and more than a little unpleasant. (Nov.)
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