3.78 (1,906 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Ágota Kristóf packs volumes into this elegant shape-shifting novella. It's simultaneously a sly exploration of storytelling and a powerful narrative about immigration and the pitfalls of starting over in a new country. Yesterday is a necessary and uncannily timely work by one of the unsung geniuses of contemporary literature." -- Jeff Jackson, author of Destroy All Monsters and Mira Corpora In spare, elegant prose, this modern novella recounts a troubled young man's flight from a judgmental village. Tobias, the illegitimate son of a prostitute and the local schoolmaster, finds peace with a factory job in the comfortable anonymity of a city. But his fragile respite is shattered by the appearance of Caroline, his boyhood love, who materializes with a husband and child in tow.
This Dover edition marks Yesterday's first U.S. publication. Originally written in French by Hungarian author Ágota Kristóf, this haunting exploration of dislocation, the search for love and belonging, and life as an emigrant continues to resonate today. "Offers a lucid, poignant narrative of the struggle to find meaning in a world of 'unbearable waiting and . . . inexpressible silence.'" -- Publishers Weekly "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 "Ágota Kristóf tackles the theme of the double and the irreparable damage caused by severance from one's roots with a writing of rare sobriety and a spareness which, avoiding all superfluous sentimentality, goes right to the heart." -- Marie Claire "Kristóf -- most brilliant when she is blackest -- plots a denouement that lies on the bleaker side of black. Read it, shudder, and utter thanks." -- Scotland on Sunday
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Product details

  • Paperback | 112 pages
  • 127 x 203 x 12.7mm | 158.76g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0486839133
  • 9780486839134
  • 996,825

Table of contents


Of course, I didn't die

The Lie
The doctor asks me

I Think
Today I start

The Dead Bird
I rarely go round

I am tired

The Rain
I cycle home

The Boat Travellers
Two years after
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About Agota Kristof

Hungarian author Ágota Kristóf (1925-2011) moved from her native country to Switzerland after the failure of the 1956 revolution. Kristof learned and wrote in French, receiving a number of prestigious prizes for her books. They include the European Prize for French literature for her first novel, The Notebook (1986), which has been published in more than 40 languages. Yesterday was made into an Italian-language film in 2002.
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Rating details

1,906 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 23% (429)
4 42% (805)
3 27% (518)
2 7% (124)
1 2% (30)
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