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. All along, the Professor—a world-famous natural scientist who studies mosses and inhabits a bizarre Zen-like shack in a desolate area outside of town—offers long rants and disquisitions on his own attempts to immunize himself from thought. Spectacular actions are staged, death and the abyss loom, until finally doom is brought down on the unsuspecting residents of the town.
Krasznahorkai constantly pushes beyond the expected, escalating everything to the brink of deliriousness.
—Idra Novey, The New York Times Book Review
Is this a funeral march? If so, it is the craziest one to have ever been composed. Astounding.—Die Zeit
The Hungarian master of the apocalypse.
A vision of painstaking beauty.
His work tends to get passed around like rare currency. One of the most profoundly unsettling experiences I have had as a reader.
—James Wood, The New Yorker
One of the most mysterious artists now at work.
The universality of Krasznahorkai’s vision rivals that of Gogol’s Dead Souls and far surpasses all the lesser concerns of contemporary writing.
—W. G. Sebald
Hungarian maestro László Krasznahorkai is laconic and shrewd, as practical as he is existential, capable of wresting huge laughs as well as immense profundity from the commonplace and the way in which we choose to respond to it.
—Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
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.
—Marina Warner, Announcing the Man Booker International Prize