Read The Case Worker by George Konrád Paul Aston Online


The daily routine of a man in charge of children at a state welfare organization and the demands that are made upon him are depicted in this novel set in present day Hungary....

Title : The Case Worker
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780091214401
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 172 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Case Worker Reviews

  • Keleigh
    2018-12-02 13:55

    I recently heard of a man who, as a very deliberate exercise in recognizing the oneness of all beings, sat in the office of a lockdown mental institution, or perhaps it was a prison, and read every patient’s file, “owning” every atrocious act and the underlying pain-motivations committed by the “untouchables, the maladjusted, the waste products” (101) segregated by society—in essence, healing that part of himself reflected by these people. The story goes that within three months every patient/prisoner was released. Konrad is engaged in a similar kind of healing, acknowledging his superficial position of detachment on “the other side of the desk” (30), but proceeding to “metamorphose” into one of his castaway clients—living out the day-to-day life (if only in his head) of Bandula, in his home, with his child. He slips into other clients’ bodies and consciousness as well, not only by telling their stories but by physically uniting with Anna the prostitute (“I am her body; it is I tripping down the stairs on her toes deformed by ill-fitting shoes…” [153:]). By “coming to understand Bandula more and more clearly, and coming to understand why no one had the right to come between him and the child” (164), Konrad’s narrator becomes Bandula, and every other case he has overseen with desensitized carelessness, disgust, sympathy, horror, superiority, “professional” distance, and ultimately a sense of helpless futility. He transgresses the border between “us” and “them,” much like Coetzee did by involving himself with the barbarian girl. This is a brilliant book on so many levels. It resonates on issues of industrialization, personal and social responsibility, the tendency of humans to identify as victims, the tendency of societies to set up structures separating the “good” (those who function competently in industrial life) and the “bad” (those who can’t or won’t). Though the narrator in the end is returning to his position on the official side of the desk, to hear and resolve or ignore and fail to change the grievances of society’s miscreants, he ends on an invitation: like a true Lady Liberty he welcomes “all those come who want to; one of us will talk, the other will listen; at least we shall be together.” A shift in consciousness does not necessarily mean that the appearance of one’s circumstances or vocation changes. The narrator is a case worker; that is what he does. But now he is offering something akin to connection, an ear infused with empathy.

  • Arnie
    2018-12-11 18:54

    A great, and I thought, neglected book. I don't know about modern day Hungary though. Pretty sure I read in the seventies and no later than the early 80's. Is that still modern day. I guess from a historical basis it was like yesterday. At the time I read it, I had a job that made it easy to relate to it.

  • Marc
    2018-11-21 16:08

    To be honest: this was really difficult reading. But so rewarding! Konrad is writing about the human condition and it isn't a gorgeous picture, no, this novel is depicting a very dark, cold world, set in a modern city (Budapest is only a nameless role model), through the eyes of a social worker (comrad T.) that handles cases of child abuse, abandonned children and other horrible, insane situations in which children are involved. This world is cruel, inhumane and senseless, but our social worker has an extraordinary compassion for all these poor, deformed creatures. He's not an idealist, no, his gift is that he sees beyond the social conventions, and he knows insanity and deprivation are just other ways of looking at reality, in some way even more pure. Reading this novel, it reminded me of Dante's Divine Comedy, and Camus' The Pest. But, as I said, it is a though read, because Konrad often uses very long sentences full of descriptions of objects, situations and actions.

  • Michael Greening
    2018-12-09 12:48

    Oppressive, claustrophobic novel that will leave a strong impression on you...excellent.

  • Dewey
    2018-11-25 16:00

    When I learned who George Konrad was through the Best European Fiction series, I nurtured expectations of his other work being pretty good. What I wasn't prepared for was discovering an unknown masterpiece! Not a title I use lightly, by any means, The Case Worker is an incredible work! In a Communist Hungary that is seedy, wretched and populated with many whores, Konrads' character works at a bureau dealing with numerous cases. It primarily, though not fully, revolves around what he does with a disabled kid who intrigues the main character. A story like this could easily be the least interesting story in the world, but Konrad writes with such a vast vocabulary that every sentence, no matter how grotesque the description, is more or less perfect (which also means that the translator did a wonderful job). Despite its Hungarian settings, the story is very universal: for my part, I can imagine the same kind of atmosphere in some god-forsaken American city or nameless trailer park that matches the worst of the trailer park stereotypes. A testament to the Hungarian language, this is a book that one can only hope will finally be placed at the same level as the other masterpieces of the twentieth century. I would recommend it to just about anybody - though I can't say for sure, I'm guessing that those who like Kenzaburo Oe's stories with disabled people will like this book too - though those who can't stomach explicit scenarios and hopeless situations might not feel so inclined to read The Case Worker. If that's so, read it anyway.

  • Amerynth
    2018-12-15 12:54

    Gyorgy Konrad's novel "The Case Worker" is incredibly bleak, but well written. I liked the book overall, even though it had some pretty disturbing scenes in it, making it a book I wouldn't particularly want to read again.The story is set in Hungary, where a social services worker becomes very engaged with one of his clients -- a little boys whose parents have died. The boy has high special needs and no one to take care of him.The novel is pretty gritty and a bit sad, but presents an interesting point of view. I'm glad to have read it.

  • Tjibbe Wubbels
    2018-11-27 15:46

    Never in my life has a book influenced my emotions like this. In the days I was reading this book I felt generally depressed and out of touch with the world around me. I even had to put it away for a precious.

  • Bram
    2018-11-28 13:49

    Moeilijk en bij momenten geniaal boek.

  • Homo
    2018-11-30 12:06

    teh best book

  • William Baker
    2018-12-11 11:02

    Mi történik, ha egyszer nem idézzük meg a szuperegó szellemét, sőt erővel, amennyire lehet, félretaszítjuk, és ítélkezés nélkül nézünk a minket körülvevő életre? Gyönyörű lirikus válasz erre a könyv.

  • Edward
    2018-11-20 16:06

    Irving Howe's introduction refers to this novel as "a grotesque-lyrical rumination" and I agree in part. The narrator, Comrade T, relates his observations in long series of qualifiers that describe point-like aspects associated with his surroundings that are intended to give the reader a fuller grasp of the overall environment that the narrator is experiencing. The enumeration of a variety of sounds that taken together paint a partial image of the surroundings. Events are related as if casually observed and quickly commented upon much like a journalist sitting in a café summarizing his surrounding scenery. Comrade T’s metaphorical descriptions flow easily as he relates his conscious impressions of both sight and sound. Meanwhile the reader has a feeling of disembodiment; not unlike an overhead camera sequence in a film wherein the observer moves above a crowd that is unaware of his presence. The people and the surroundings described are reminiscent of Paul Leppin's Blaugast: A Novel of Decline. The difference is that the latter describes the protagonist's decline as an individual (more like in the film Leaving Las Vegas) and the former is the narrator's description of his encounters while wading through a sea of societal decline. As an individual, Comrade T acknowledges Man’s attempt to regulate society are futile and that authoritarian duty bounds him to participate in it. He respects life for its own sake rather than a right or a moral imperative and that each individual is trapped in a mesh of their own creation. Although seemingly contradictory, he merely relates life’s cycle reduced to its squalid simplicity. One might call this as an existentialist view; fatalistic rather than hopeful but existential nonetheless because life’s dictum is to live and plod through it. He appreciates the mundane and senses something of value in it and lives it without regret.Some might see this novel as an indictment of Soviet society but then you have to wonder how much of that enlightened opinion is due to media propaganda and whether the same elements of the life’s futile cycle are present in capitalist society. The following is an example of Konrad’s prose that gives some sense of his metaphorical descriptiveness applied to existentialist view: “In the middle an old man in a black raincoat, a grey-bearded barroom saint, a strolling graphologist, a toothless peddler, a forgotten musical clown, possibly a dealer in stolen goods, in any event an old man in a black raincoat, lifts high his silver saxophone, tosses back his head and blows. Out of the instrument pour shaggy figurines in black raincoats, no doubt peddlers or strolling graphologists or possibly even forgotten musical clowns or dealers in stolen goods, lifting minute silver saxophones.”

  • Pierce
    2018-11-21 16:48

    The world of Konrad's case worker smells like old tobacco, rotting vegetables and people, and an old leather sofa from "imperial" times that seems wildly out of place (and seems to know it).This story follows a government child welfare bureaucrat in the damp, dirty, hopeless 1960s Budapest who has a brief excursion into the world of his "clients": the mentally and physically undesirable. Konrad constructs a terrifyingly sad world that could only exist in real life, but that can really only be talked about in fiction. It might be nice to see but for the bullet holes.I'm not entirely sure if this book has a happy ending or not, but Konrad just became one of my favorite writers. He uses short sentences when he uses them at all. Not all of his characters have names. And by the end of this book you might reconsider your own definitions of "human," "society," and "life."

  • Nathan
    2018-12-14 14:55

    A riveting, yet uncomfortable and somewhat depressing read. The story follows a state case worker and some of the various families he deals with, from finding homes for children whose parents have committed suicide or removing children from abusive households. Most the story revolves around a severely mentally challenged five-year-old whose parents both committed suicide. The unnamed case worker takes care of him, partly out of pity, partly out of lack of options, but the child is so unruly and because he is unable to communicate, the case worker slowly loses his facilities and becomes like the families he had previously overseen.

  • Gijs Grob
    2018-12-10 12:07

    In de eerste persoon geschreven roman over een ambtenaar sociale zaken en zijn kijk op zijn cliënten. Bevat mooie, schrijnende verhalen over de zelfkant van de samenleving, en bereikt grote hoogten wanneer de ik-figuur zich over het idiote, behaarde kind van de Bandula's ontfermt, maar de leesbaarheid wordt het hele boek lang ernstig belemmerd door ultralange, opsommende zinnen en schrikbarend lange alinea's. Uiteindelijk is het boek hierdoor meer vermoeiend dan bevredigend.

  • M.
    2018-11-28 13:48

    I can honestly say, without any doubt, that this is the worst book I have ever read in my entire life.Knowing my literature class, however, I'm sure I'll read worse things in the future. But so far this was the worst one, hands down.I see it has a high rating here, so I guess tastes are different. To each its own. But I didn't like it at all.

  • Mckinley
    2018-11-17 18:55

    Powerful book, not quite "lite" reading. Humanitarianism in industrial world.

  • Jayden gonzalez
    2018-12-15 14:56


  • lyell bark
    2018-11-20 11:40

    this book is incredibly uncomfortable and depressing.

  • Kobe Bryant
    2018-11-26 10:51

    A heart-warming tale of a case worker and an orphan