The Notebook, The Proof, and The Third Lie. Three Novels. by Agota Kristof Translated from French by Alan Sheridan Translated from French. The Notebook (English and French Edition) [Agota Kristof] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Twin brothers, left with their evil grandmother. Ágota Kristóf was a Hungarian writer who lived in Switzerland and wrote in French. Kristof received the European prize for French literature for The Notebook.

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T here is a book through which I discovered what kind of a person I really want to be: A couple of examples should suffice.

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

When we come back with the food and blanket, he says: We’ve brought you these things because you absolutely need them. If there ever was a Christian ethical stance, this is it: One night, they find themselves sleeping in the same bed as a German officer, a tormented gay masochist. Early in the morning, they awaken and want to leave the bed, but the officer holds them back:. We have to go. A true work of love, if there ever was one!

The twins’ closest friend is a priest’s housekeeper, a young voluptuous woman who washes them, playing erotic games with them. Right in front of us, a thin arm emerges from the crowd, a dirty hand stretches out, a voice asks: The boys decide to punish her: 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: 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.

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

They do not heroically transgress our shared ethical rules, they simply lack them. The two brothers also blackmail the priest: The shocked priest asks them:.

Have you any idea what you’re doing? But Harelip and her mother absolutely need money.

There is nothing personal noyebook this blackmail: When Harelip and her mother are able to survive on their own, they refuse further cash from the priest:. 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. Their cold-serving of others extends to killing them if asked: Naive as it is, such a subjective attitude in no way precludes a monstrously cold reflexive distance.


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 don’t want to eat your soup or your bread.

We are not hungry. It is impossible to throw away the stroking on our hair. This is where I stand, how I would love to be: With iristof 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 by Ágota Kristóf

Early in the morning, they awaken and want to leave the bed, but the officer holds them back: The shocked priest asks them: When Harelip and her mother are able to survive on their own, they refuse further cash from the priest: Topics Fiction A book that changed me.

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