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The Notebook: The Proof ; the Third Lie : Three Novels Paperback – 23 Jun 1997

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 478 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; Reissue edition (23 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135063
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3.4 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

These three internationally acclaimed novels have confirmed Agota Kristof's reputation as one of the most provocative exponents of new-wave European fiction. With all the stark simplicity of a fractured fairy tale, the trilogy tells the story of twin brothers, Claus and Lucas, locked in an agonizing bond that becomes a gripping allegory for the forces that have divided "brothers" in much of Europe since World War II. Kristof's postmodern saga begins with The Notebook, in which the brothers are children, lost in a country torn apart by conflict, who must learn every trick of evil and cruelty merely to survive. In The Proof, Lucas is challenged to prove his own identity and the existence of his missing brother, a defector to the "other side". The Third Lie, which closes the trilogy, is a biting parable of Eastern and Western Europe today and a deep exploration into the nature of identity, storytelling, and the truths and untruths that lie at the heart of them all.

About the Author

David Watson is Professor of Higher Education Management at the the Institute of Education, University of London.


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This is one of those (unfortunately) rare books that keeps your mind buzzing long after the last page is read. I actually tried to start another book the next day but Kristof's amazing story kept interrupting. The Notebook starts in an unnamed European country during the second world war and tells the story of young twins who are placed with their Grandmother in the countryside to avoid the bombings.

It is simply written with very short chapters, but dont let this put you off there is so much squeezed into each, some of it funny, some sad and some so shocking, disturbing and/or bonkers that I frequently had to put the book down before guiltly picking it up again for another fix.

The next two installments follows them into adulthood and the writing changes as a result with longer more detailed chapters but it is still an easy and gripping read.

I don't want to say to much more as to much info will spoil what this amazing book has in store - but believe me this is a rollercoaster of a ride and is as entertaining as it is harrowing, this is definately a book I will be reading again. Agota Kristof has a brilliant talent and it is a huge frustration that this is the only one of her books translated into english - I need more!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second time I've bought and read this book! I first came across this book 10 years ago, it was so mind blowing that I gave the book away as a gift.

10 years on, I read it again... I'm now in my early 30s, and reading this book again actually gave me a different angle of life!

Agota Kristof is so original, I was constantly surprised and shocked by how far she was pushing the boundary. In the "Third Lie", I was constantly trying to figure out which one was the truth and which was a lie... it was written in such a clever way that everything was so weird and awkward, but somehow it seems to make sense!

This is such a little gem... this book definitely deserves much more attention and positive reviews!
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Format: Paperback
Written by an unreliable narrator, the first part of this trilogy, The Notebook, won two prestigious European literary awards and was Kristof's debut novel, published when the author was 51. It is utterly astonishing and brilliantly written in the voice of a moral fable, using beautifully simple, even clinical, compelling language to drive this story of a troubling conflict both psychological and circumstantial.

It's written, as they all are, from a first person narrator viewpoint. What's remarkable is the pure clarity of voice and language and - most importantly - the absence of judgement and conventional, socially acceptable behaviour.

With the onslaught of WW2, in an unnamed Hungary, identical twin brothers C(K)laus and Lucas record an objective narrative of each day or days of significance that each agrees must be dependent solely on fact. Any emotional, moral or adjectival judgement or even sentiment in their respective stories is eliminated by the brothers.

Only once both approve of each other's handwritten version (the day's events being transcribed by each on a daily basis and every script is swapped between the brothers to be evaluated by each in turn), the best one (ie objective, without judgement) is then transcribed and only then written up in The Notebook.

Their purity of purpose and determination to lead lives grounded in their own way, extends to them deciding to strip themselves of emotion as they learn to disregard and be invulnerable to the devastating consequences of war. They also choose to act on occasion in ways that threaten and harm those who harm others, and always based upon their own distinctive, yet always logical, moral code. As a metaphor for the impact of war on children it's a powerful and compelling one.
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Format: Paperback
"the Notebook" is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and it is written the way books should be: easy to read, engaging, to the point, short, and thoroughly thought-provoking. When you are done with "The Notebook", it forces you to sit and ponder what you have just read. The book really twists the conventions of the first person narrative, so that even though the narrator(s) are thoroughly convincing, you are not sure what to believe. This convention also makes the narrators' often immoral and reprehensible acts believable and understandable. This only adds to the moral conundrum of this story, a cunundrum that is at the heart of war-time life.
I first read this in 1994; I'm extremely happy to see it finally in print again, and with the two sequels thrown in as well. A terrific and engaging novel!
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This book was chosen for discussion in our French literature group. It is one of the rare books where everyone was in agreement, about the power of the writing and the impact it had on us. It can be read in a couple of hours, but the resonance lingers. The author writes in a very simplistic style, but her portrayal of the characters is extraordinary. It is hard-hitting, but at the same time, a very humane book. It was one of the rarest of rare books that touched everyone in our discussion group.
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