Pure genius.

Max Porter

Never before translated short stories by the “stark and haunting” (San Francisco Chronicle) legendary genius Ágota Kristóf

Available Sep, 03 2024

I Don’t Care

Fiction by Ágota Kristóf

Translated from French by Chris Andrews

Here, in English at last, is a collection of Ágota Kristóf’s short—sometimes very short—stories, which she selected herself, translated by the peerless Chris Andrews. Written immediately before her masterful trilogy (The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie), Kristóf’s short fictions oscillate between parables, surrealist anecdotes, and stories animated by a realism stripped to the bone, often returning to the theme of exile: the twin impossibilities of either returning home or of reconstructing home elsewhere. The world of I Don’t Care has very hard edges: cruelty is almost omnipresent, peace and consolation are scarce. Austere and minimalist, but with a poetic force that shifts the walls in the reader’s mind, Kristóf’s penetrating short fictions make for extraordinary and essential reading.

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Ágota Kristóf

Hungarian writer

Pure genius.

Max Porter

Kristóf’s sentences are like skeletons, commemorations of indescribable sadness that have been meticulously scrubbed of gore and gristle. She seems to sculpt her stories by omission, the great unspoken throughout her books being Hungarian. One might think of Kristóf’s fiction as an act of recuperation, an expression of loss that preserves loss in the form. The brevity of The Illiterate alone tells you that this is not her whole story. It is simply the one she tells.

Jennifer Krasinski, The New Yorker

For Kristóf, fiction is the only thing that might provide an escape from solitude... Her novels likewise lead to an engagement with the world. They open things up because of how they undermine what we consider to be true; they shatter a supposed unity. Kristóf’s writing shows us both the pleasure and the necessity of literary refraction.

Missouri Williams, The Nation

Many of Kristóf's stark vignettes, reported in unflinching detail, have a cool, disturbing power—part documentary-like, part surreal that is fierce and distinctive.

Kirkus Reviews