Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie by…

The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie (1986)

by Ágota Kristóf

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy (omnibus 1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5853816,858 (4.21)13

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 13 mentions

English (19)  Italian (10)  Spanish (6)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  All (38)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Dove niente è come sembra. ( )
  cloentrelibros | Aug 23, 2016 |
I reviewed this trilogy in three parts:

Ágota Kristóf (1935 – 2011) was born in Hungary but after the war she fled to Switzerland to escape Soviet repression, and took factory work while she taught herself French. She became a significant author in that language, and won the 2001 Gottfried Keller Award in Switzerland and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2008. The Notebook Trilogy a.k.a. The Book of Lies – Twins Trilogy established Kristof’s reputation and consists of

her first novel The Notebook (Le Grand Cahier, 1986), translated by Alan Sheridan 1989;
The Proof (La Preuve, 1988), translated by David Watson, 1991; and
The Third Lie (Le Troisieme Mensonge, 1991), translated by Mark Romano, 1996.

This Text Publishing edition brings the three volumes together, but I think that I will not be the only reader to pause to reflect before moving on to read Books 2 and 3.

In very spare prose, Kristóf tells the story of twin boys who survive war by losing their souls. Set in a place the reader assumes to be Hungary not too far from the Nazi front line – The Notebook begins as the fighting moves closer to the Big Town and the boys’ distraught mother abandons them in the safer peasant countryside, leaving them with her mother from whom she has been estranged for many years. Like the heartless relations in Grimm’s fairy tales, this grandmother is reputed to be a witch who has poisoned her husband, and she has no affection for anyone:
To read the rest of my review of Bk 1 please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2016/05/02/the-notebook-the-notebook-trilogy1-by-agota-kristof-translated-by-alan-sheridan/

I recommend that you read each book of the trilogy before reading each of my other two reviews:
https://anzlitlovers.com/2016/05/14/the-third-lie-the-notebook-trilogy3-by-agota-kristof-translated-by-marc-romano/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Jul 17, 2016 |
Descending order of greatness; The Notebook is unbelievably good in a kind of minimalist way; The Proof changes the style and tone and is only interesting in patches; The Third Lie reveals the point of the whole story and leaves you scratching your head as to why the second two books were necessary additions to the first. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
Where to begin? There is no entry point. Maybe, like history, it will become apparent only with time and distance.

The more I think about the three books together, the more knotted I become.
Perhaps I should stop thinking about it as a puzzle.

The Notebook is powerful, disturbing, startling. It is a gripping read, an adult fairy tale. One marvels and squirms at the relentless cruel logic of these twin children. It wasn’t originally written as a trilogy. The Notebook was a stand-alone book, but after it was published she kept thinking of the twins, and wanted to come back to them, to see what happened. So she wrote the second, and the third.

The Notebook stands on its own as a story with stylish but conventional narrative. You could stop there and be satisfied. But reading the next books completely alters the meaning of the first.

Victor the bookstore owner, says to Lucas, “…every human being is born to write a book, and for no other reason. A work of genius or mediocrity, it doesn't matter, but he who writes nothing is lost, he has merely passed through life without leaving a trace.”

So to write a book, a notebook, is to leave a trace, to have left proof of existence. But is it fiction or fact, and who wrote it?

Here it becomes mirrors of reflections — identities, truth, history, lies.
This only started to make any kind of sense if I thought of it in the context of the larger canvas of history.
Consider the history of a country / countries, especially around the time of upheavals of war. Countries are split and are merged, their histories are manipulated, retold, omitted. Stories are fantastical, hyperbolic, fanciful -- they exaggerate the barbarity of the enemy. They have fragmented identities, like these characters. There is no single truth. There are only versions of it. After a war, is a newly created geographic zone now one country, or inherently two countries, as it was before? Does it exist just because it has been written into history? Is that the proof of its existence? And what of the names, the first names, and then the next names. Which one(s) are true? Are they not all true? Or are not all names given to it lies? Or do they matter — do they affect the fundamental identity?

History is unreliable. Narrators are unreliable. There are multiple truths that are simultaneously lies. But at least if we write it, we exist. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
I read The Notebook recently, and was so anxious to discover "what happens next" that I bought this edition of the Trilogy. And whilst The Proof is a clear continuation of The Notebook (although in my view, nowhere near as successful), The Third Lie adopts a very different style and turns the entire story on its head.

The Notebook is a quite extraordinary book, which will stay with you for some time. The nameless, identical, twins who think and act as one, are sent to their grandmothers house to avoid war time bombings. At first they seem to be the embodiment of evil e.g. " Grandmother doesn't go up to the attic anymore, because we sawed through one of the rungs of the ladder and she fell and hurt herself". But in fact the twins are highly rational and moral. They create exercises and training for themselves to eliminate the need for love, to strip language of its emotion and endure any amount of pain. Thus preparing themselves for the unraveling of society around them as the Nazi's retreat and the Russians arrive. They help their disabled neighbour Harelip and her bedridden mother by blackmailing the local priest, who has been molesting Harelip, into providing assistance. Until such time as they decide he's paid enough. They put up with any amount of indignities from a local officer, billeted on their grandmother. The priest's housekeeper is at first their friend, but when they see her taunting convoys of transported Jews they extract revenge. And so rational are they, that anyone should think very carefully about uttering a phrase like "I wish I was dead" anywhere near them

Not for the faint hearted; we have scenes of atrocious perversion and violence described and its just as well the twins have hardened themselves to be immune to pain. But an extremely rewarding book with a very dark and ambiguous ending

Its hard to talk about The Proof without spoilers for The Notebook. But in my view its a lot less successful - the characters' motivation becomes less clear. Secondary characters are introduced the purpose of which dont become apparent until the third book. The simple, fractured fairy tale style of the narrative becomes a constraint for the author, and eventually towards the end of the book, she abandons it

In The Third Lie everything the reader believes he has understood from the first two books, is turned on its head to devastating effect. When reading The Notebook its hard to imagine a book that's more profoundly sad. But Third Lie is that book

Overall, a substantial work of art. Because of the simple structure of the narrative its tempting and easy to rush through this. Avoid the temptation and take it slowly ( )
  Opinionated | Apr 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ágota Kristófprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bogliolo, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marchi, ArmandoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ripa di Meana, VirginiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romano, MarcoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheridan, AlanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watson, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
First words
Arriviamo nella Grande Città. Abbiamo viaggiato tutta la notte. Nostra Madre ha gli occhi arrossati. Porta una grossa scatola di cartone, e noi due una piccola valigia a testa con i nostri vestiti, più il grosso dizionario di nostro Padre, che ci passiamo quando abbiamo le braccia stanche.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802135064, Paperback)

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 of 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 challenging 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. "Stark and haunting." - The San Francisco Chronicle; "A vision of considerable depth and complexity, a powerful portrait of the nobility and perversity of the human heart." - The Christian Science Monitor.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:28 -0400)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
169 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.21)
1 2
1.5 1
2 6
3 18
3.5 4
4 58
4.5 8
5 73

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 117,018,423 books! | Top bar: Always visible