Being clear and concise is one of the most challenging principles in writing. But do not mistake this to be a constricting principle, one that prevents the poet from writing poetry that expands your visions or makes you weep. Neither does it prevent the storyteller from telling stories that take you to places you never imagined you would visit, places where you might meet characters that make you question everything you ever thought was right in this or other worlds.
At the moment I write this throw-away blurb, I face the challenge to comment on the shortest – but also most beautiful – of memoirs I’ve ever come across. The challenge lies in my ambition to persuade you to take the time to seek out, and read, this piece of work that might take you less than an hour or so to read.
But I fear I will fail to describe this memoir’s merits in an un-clear and un-concise manner. Due to this, I also fear the consequence of you not taking the time to seek out and read this humble piece of literary achievement, conceived by Agota Kristof, who I just learned left us too soon.
All I can say is this: Agota Kristof’s memoir is extraordinary not only because of her skilled storytelling, but especially due to its briefness. All we need to know about her life and dreams and struggles and regrets is thoughtfully laid out in a clear and concise manner.
Above all her writing is a testament to a moment in time that we seem to have forgotten too soon.
I could barely breathe while reading l’Analphabète, simply because I found myself to be in the moment, a silent companion to Agota, every step of the way.
And then I wept.
Anita B Krišto © 2019