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The excitement of Krasznahorkai’s writing is that he has come up with his own original forms — and one of the most haunting is his first, Satantango There’s nothing else like it in contemporary literature

—Adam Thirwell, The New York Review of Books

Winner of the 2013 Best Translated Book Award


Satantango

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes

Already famous as the inspiration for the filmmaker Béla Tarr’s six-hour masterpiece, Satantango is proof, as the spellbinding, bleak, and hauntingly beautiful book has it, that “the devil has all the good times.” The story of Satantango, spread over a couple of days of endless rain, focuses on the dozen remaining inhabitants of an unnamed isolated hamlet: failures stuck in the middle of nowhere. Schemes, crimes, infidelities, hopes of escape, and above all trust and its constant betrayal are Krasznahorkai’s meat. “At the center of Satantango,” George Szirtes has said, “is the eponymous drunken dance, referred to here sometimes as a tango and sometimes as a csardas. It takes place at the local inn where everyone is drunk. . . . Their world is rough and ready, lost somewhere between the comic and tragic, in one small insignificant corner of the cosmos. Theirs is the dance of death.” “You know,” Mrs. Schmidt, a pivotal character, tipsily confides, “dance is my one weakness.”

published March 5th, 2012
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