The World Goes On

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

Translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes Ottilie Mulzet John Batki

In The World Goes On, a narrator first speaks directly, then narrates a number of unforgettable stories, and then bids farewell (“here I would leave this earth and these stars, because I would take nothing with me”). As László Krasznahorkai himself explains: “Each text is about drawing our attention away from this world, speeding our body toward annihilation, and immersing ourselves in a current of thought or a narrative…” A Hungarian interpreter obsessed with waterfalls, at the edge of the abyss in his own mind, wanders the chaotic streets of Shanghai.…
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The Last Wolf & Herman

The Last Wolf (translated by George Szirtes) is Krasznahorkai in a maddening nutshell–it features a classic obsessed narrator, a man hired (by mistake) to write the true tale of the last wolf of Spain. This miserable experience (being mistaken for another, dragged about a cold foreign place, and appalled by a species’ end) is narrated— all in a single sentence—as a sad looping tale, a howl more or less, in a dreary Berlin bar to a patently bored bartender.…
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Spadework for a Palace

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

Translated from the Hungarian by John Batki

Spadework for a Palace bears the subtitle “Entering the Madness of Others” and offers an epigraph: “Reality is no obstacle.” Indeed. This high-octane obsessive rant vaults over all obstacles, fueled by the idées fixe of a “gray little librarian” with fallen arches whose name—mr herman melvill—is merely one of the coincidences binding him to his lodestar Herman Melville (“I too resided on East 26th Street … I, too, had worked for a while at the Customs Office”), which itself is just one aspect of his also being “constantly conscious of his connectedness” to Lebbeus Woods, to the rock that is Manhattan, to the “drunkard Lowry” and his Lunar Caustic, to Bartok.…
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