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.
Herman (translated by John Batki), “a peerless virtuoso of trapping who guards the splendid mysteries of an ancient craft gradually sinking into permanent oblivion,” is asked to clear a forest’s last “noxious beasts.” He begins with great zeal, although in time he “suspects that maybe he was ‘on the wrong scent.’” Herman switches sides, deciding to track entirely new game…
The book, a collection of two short stories, acts as a distillation of Krasznahorkai’s essential themes: apocalypse and the death of innocent violence.
—Jake Romm, The New Inquiry
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
Reading Krasznahorkai magnified on this scale […] emphasises the tenderness and strange humour that are part of his disillusion.
Wild and wonderful.
—Adam Thirlwell, The Guardian
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
Together, ‘The Last Wolf’ and ‘Herman’ raise a set of spiritual questions that affirms their author as one of the most important — and eccentric — writers working today.
—Hari Kunzru, The Spectator
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
Don’t underestimate the pair; they might look flimsy enough to finish during a long commute but they’ll haunt you — or perhaps hunt you — long after the final full-stop has been left behind.
—Jeva Langer, Electric Literature
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
Two short but maddeningly complex fictions by the Hungarian master of the postmodern… Somewhere James Joyce is smiling. Krasznahorkai is a writer who, though difficult, demands greater recognition by readers outside Hungary.
Gateway drugs to Krasznahorkai’s work: as the very best fiction always does, they bring another world—an alien world, let’s say—into our own.
—Christine Smallwood, Harper’s
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