László Krasznahorkai

László Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, Hungary, in 1954. He worked for some years as an editor until 1984, when he became a freelance writer. He now lives in reclusiveness in the hills of Szentlászló. He has written five novels and won numerous prizes, including the 2015 Man Booker International Prize, and the 2013 Best Translated Book Award in Fiction for Satantango. In 1993, he won the Best Book of the Year Award in Germany for The Melancholy of Resistance. For more about Krasznahorkai, visit his extensive website.

Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

Translated by Ottilie Mulzet

Set in contemporary times, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming tells the story of a Prince Myshkin–like figure, Baron Bela Wenckheim, who decides to return at the end of his life to the provincial Hungarian town of his birth. Having escaped from his many casino debts in Buenos Aires, where he was living in exile, he wishes to be reunited with his high school sweetheart Marika. What follows is an endless storm of gossip, con men, and local politicians, vividly evoking the small town’s alternately drab and absurd existence.…
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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

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

Translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes John Batki

**The Last Wolf **translated by George Szirtes The Last Wolf features a classic, obsessed Krasznahorkai narrator, a man hired to write (by mistake, by a glitch of fate) the true tale of the last wolf of Extremadura, a barren stretch of Spain. This miserable experience (being mistaken for another, dragged about a cold foreign place, 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 wintry Berlin bar to a patently bored bartender.…
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Seiobo There Below

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

Translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet

Beauty, in László Krasznahorkai’s new novel, reflects, however fleeting, the sacred — even if we are mostly unable to bear it. In Seiobo There Below we see the goddess Seiobo returning to mortal realms in search of perfection. An ancient Buddha being restored; Perugino managing his workshop; a Japanese Noh actor rehearsing; a fanatic of Baroque music lecturing to a handful of old villagers; tourists intruding into the rituals of Japan’s most sacred shrine; a heron hunting.…
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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.…
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Animalinside

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

Translated from the Portuguese by Ottilie Mulzet

With a contribution by Colm Tóibín

As if some chained being had to shake its essence free, as if art taken to its limit were a form of howling, Animalinside explodes from its first line: “He wants to break free, attempts to stretch open the walls, but he has been tautened by them, and there he remains in this tautening, in this constraint, and there is nothing to do but howl… .” To create this work that strains against all constraints, László Krasznahorkai began from one of Max Neumann’s paintings; Neumann, spurred into action, created 14 more images, which unleashed an additional 13 texts from the author.…
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War & War

War & War, László Krasznahorkai’s second novel in English from New Directions, begins at a point of danger: on a dark train platform Korim is on the verge of being attacked by thuggish teenagers and robbed; and from here, we are carried along by the insistent voice of this nervous clerk. Desperate, at times almost mad, but also keenly empathic, Korim has discovered in a small Hungarian town’s archives an antique manuscript of startling beauty: it narrates the epic tale of brothers-in-arms struggling to return home from a disastrous war.…
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The Melancholy of Resistance

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

Translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes

The Melancholy of Resistance, László Krasznahorkai’s magisterial, surreal novel, depicts a chain of mysterious events in a small Hungarian town. A circus, promising to display the stuffed body of the largest whale in the world, arrives in the dead of winter, prompting bizarre rumors. Word spreads that the circus folk have a sinister purpose in mind, and the frightened citizens cling to any manifestation of order they can find — music, cosmology, fascism.…
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Intense and uncompromising.

—W.G. Sebald

Laszlo Krasznahorkai does many fascinating things with his prose, and one of the most striking is [this]: Starting a sentence hopefully, trying to say this or that, and then traveling inexorably, one clause after another, to the bleak and totalizing conclusion that all is lost, nothing is real, the world is intolerable. Like Beckett, it’s much funnier than you’d think.

—Nitsuh Abebe, NYT Magazine

Krasznahorkai constantly pushes beyond the expected, escalating everything to the brink of deliriousness.

—Idra Novey, New York Times Book Review

Krasznahorkai questions language, history, and what we take to be facts, all the while rocketing from one corner of the world to the next, from Budapest to Varanasi to Okinawa…

Kirkus Review

László Krasznahorkai is the undisputed laureate of our deranged, vulnerable epoch.

—Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

Krasznahorkai’s method is to examine reality “to the point of madness” and he does so with majestic style and black comedy.

—Luke Brown, Financial Times

Krasznahorkai shows himself to be a writer of immense talent, capable of creating stories that are both unforgettably visceral and beautiful on the page.

—Claire Kohda Hazelton, The Guardian

Slow, relentless forces permeate the world of László Krasznahorkai; his characters are subject to glacial currents that bear them ever onwards, an inch at a time, toward a horizon they constantly imagine but never actually behold. In so doing, they cry, or laugh, or cry laughing, or carry out the timeworn repetitions that make a life, until the moment they come up against the horizon.

—Camille Dajewski, Music & Literature

A seminal author of our time.

The Quarterly Conversation

All hope abandon ye who enter here. Beach readers beware; gloom lies ahead.

The Millions

László Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present-day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful: magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence.

—Marina Warner, Announcing The 2015 Man Booker International Prize

A Hungarian modernist whose sentences wind and unwind and rewind, creating what one translator described as ‘a slow lava-flow of narrative, a vast black river of type.’ A fitting winner of the 2015 Man Booker International prize.

The Economist

Krasznahorkai, the poet of the Apocalypse, stands alone relentlessly, if gleefully, offering wonders.

—Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

László Krasznahorkai has given us a work that shimmers under a prism of hidden meanings. Our task is to connect the dots, experience the mystery of the text, and embrace moments of bewilderment with patience, openness, and preparation for a deeply meaningful encounter.

—Stephanie Newman, The Millions

Tinged both with sadness and an anxiety about the capability of language, this brilliantly ambitious novel, like the tragic poetry of one of its characters, becomes a ‘ravishing cadenza.

Publishers Weekly

Krasznahorkai is an expert with the complexity of human obsessions. Each of his books feel like an event, a revelation, and Seiobo There Below is no different.

The Daily Beast

Seiobo There Below places upon us readers the same demands of all great art, and allows us to grasp a vision of painstaking beauty if we can slow ourselves down to savor it.

NPR Books

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

Linguistically [Satantango] is a stunning novel, but it’s tough going, an hours-long slog through mud and meaninglessness and superstition that will leave an indelible mark on anyone who gets through it.

The Telegraph [UK]

Krasznahorkai produces novels that are riveting in their sinewy momentum and deeply engaging in the utter humanity of their vision.

The Dublin Review of Books

Krasznahorkai’s sentences are snaky, circuitous things, near-endless strings of clauses and commas that through reversals, hesitations, hard turns and meandering asides come to embody time itself, to stretch it and condense it, to reveal its cruel materiality, the way it at once traps us and offers, always deceptively, to release us from its grasp, somewhere out there after the last comma and the final period: after syntax, after words.

The Nation

Krasznahorkai is a poet of dilapidation, of everything that exists on the point of not-existence. He draws a community of oddballs and obsessives trying desperately to combat the passage of time as everything around them sinks into the mud of an endless rain.

The Independent

Satantango is a brilliant, original and unsettling work; it is also a product of it’s time and place.

The Quarterly Conversation

A writer without comparison, László Krasznahorkai plunges into the subconscious where this moral battle takes place, and projects it into a mythical, mysterious, and irresistible work of post-modern fiction, a novel certain to hold a high rank in the canon of Eastern European literature.

The Coffin Factory

A bruising study of expectation and failure.

Bookslut

Krasznahorkai proves himself to be capable of bringing anything to life, and Satantango’s pages are teeming with it.

Critical Mob

His wry, snake-like sentences produce — or unspool — layer upon layer of psychological insight, metaphysical revelation, and macroscopic historical perspective.

L Magazine

He is obsessed as much with the extremes of language as he is with the extremes of thought, with the very limits of people and systems in a world gone mad — and it is hard not to be compelled by the haunting clarity of his vision.

—Adam Levy, The Millions

He offers us stories that are relentlessly generative and defiantly irresolvable. They are haunting, pleasantly weird and, ultimately, bigger than the worlds they inhabit.

—Jacob Silverman, The New York Times Book Review

Krasznahorkai’s mastery of structure, character, and language is matched by his ability to simultaneously weave all three together; readers can feel themselves physiologically immersed in the world of the book, itself a finely orchestrated system.

The New Inquiry

A writer without comparison, László Krasznahorkai plunges into the subconscious where this moral battle takes place, and projects it into a mythical, mysterious, and irresistible work of post-modern fiction, a novel certain to hold a high rank in the canon of Eastern European literature.

The Coffin Factory

This is a book about a world into which the Leviathan returned. The universality of its vision rivals that of Gogol’s Dead Souls and far surpasses all the lesser concerns of contemporary writing.

—W.G. Sebald
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