I found Imre Kertész’s 2002 Nobel lecture a good and thought-provoking read, and I hope you will too. A couple of language-related bits:
Consider what happened to language in the twentieth century, what became of words. I daresay that the first and most shocking discovery made by writers in our time was that language, in the form it came down to us, a legacy of some primordial culture, had simply become unsuitable to convey concepts and processes that had once been unambiguous and real. Think of Kafka, think of Orwell, in whose hands the old language simply disintegrated. It was as if they were turning it round and round in an open fire, only to display its ashes afterward, in which new and previously unknown patterns emerged. […]
It makes me especially happy to be expressing these thoughts in my native language: Hungarian. I was born in Budapest, in a Jewish family, whose maternal branch hailed from the Transylvanian city of Kolozsvár (Cluj) and the paternal side from the southwestern corner of the Lake Balaton region. My grandparents still lit the Sabbath candles every Friday night, but they changed their name to a Hungarian one, and it was natural for them to consider Judaism their religion and Hungary their homeland. My maternal grandparents perished in the Holocaust; my paternal grandparents’ lives were destroyed by Mátyás Rákosi’s Communist rule, when Budapest’s Jewish old age home was relocated to the northern border region of the country. I think this brief family history encapsulates and symbolizes this country’s modern-day travails. What it teaches me, though, is that there is not only bitterness in grief, but also extraordinary moral potential.
Makes me want to read his work. The Nobel site has the speech in Swedish, French, and German, as well as Kertész’s native Hungarian (“Külön öröm számomra, hogy ezeket a gondolatokat az anyanyelvemen, magyarul mondhatom el…”); I got the link from the indispensable wood s lot.