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László Krasznahorkai - book author

László Krasznahorkai is a Hungarian novelist and screenwriter who is known for critically difficult and demanding novels, often labelled as postmodern, with dystopian and bleak melancholic themes.

He is probably best known through the oeuvre of the director Béla Tarr, who has collaborated with him on several movies.

Krasznahorkai has been honored with numerous literary prizes, among them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize, and the 2015 Man Booker International Prize for his English-translated oeuvre.

László Krasznahorkai is the author of books: Satantango, The Melancholy of Resistance, War & War, Seiobo There Below, The Last Wolf / Herman, Animalinside, The World Goes On, Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming, Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens: Reportage, Északról hegy, Délről tó, Nyugatról utak, Keletről folyó

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01
Already famous as the inspiration for the filmmaker Béla Tarr’s six-hour masterpiece, Satantango is proof 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 the 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.”
02
A powerful, surreal novel, in the tradition of Gogol, about the chaotic events surrounding the arrival of a circus in a small Hungarian town. The Melancholy of Resistance, László Krasznahorkai's magisterial 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 rumours. 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. The novel's characters are unforgettable: the evil Mrs. Eszter, plotting her takeover of the town; her weakling husband; and Valuska, our hapless hero with his head in the clouds, who is the tender center of the book, the only pure and noble soul to be found. Compact, powerful and intense, The Melancholy of Resistance, as its enormously gifted translator George Szirtes puts it, "is a slow lava flow of narrative, a vast black river of type." And yet, miraculously, the novel, in the words of The Guardian, "lifts the reader along in lunar leaps and bounds."
03
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. Korim is determined to do away with himself, but before he can commit suicide, he strongly feels he must escape to New York with the precious manuscript and commit it to eternity by typing it all up on the world-wide web. Following Korim with obsessive realism through the streets of New York (from his landing in a Bowery flophouse to his moving far uptown with a mad interpreter), War & War relates his encounters with a fascinating range of humanity, a world torn between viciousness and mysterious beauty. Following the eight chapters of War & War is a short "prequel acting as a sequel," "Isaiah," which brings us to a dark bar, years before in Hungary, where Korim rants against the world and threatens suicide. Simply written like nothing else (turning single sentences into chapters), War & War affirms W. G. Sebald’s comment that Krasznahorkai’s prose "far surpasses all the lesser concerns of contemporary writing."
04
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.… Seiobo hovers over it all, watching closely.

Melancholic and brilliant, Seiobo There Below urges us to treasure the concentration that goes into the perception of great art, leading us to re-examine our connection to immanence.
06
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. Animalinside is the rare case of two matchless artists meeting across disciplines, and New Directions is very proud to publish a limited edition of this powerful novella, exquisitely produced by Sylph Editions and the Cahiers Series of the American University of Paris with a deluxe seven-stage printing process for the amazing Neumann images.
07
In The World Goes On, a narrator first speaks directly, then tells eleven unforgettable stories, and then bids farewell (“for here I would leave this earth and these stars, because I would take nothing with me”). As László Krasznahoraki 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. A traveler, reeling from the sights and sounds of Varanasi, encounters a giant of a man on the banks of the Ganges ranting on the nature of a single drop of water. A child laborer in a Portuguese marble quarry wanders off from work one day into a surreal realm utterly alien from his daily toils. The World Goes On is another amazing masterpiece by the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. “The excitement of his writing,” Adam Thirwell proclaimed in the New York Review of Books, “is that he has come up with this own original forms—there is nothing else like it in contemporary literature.”
08
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.
09
Known for his brilliantly dark fictional visions, László Krasznahorkai is one of the most respected European writers of his generation and the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Here, he brings us on a journey through China at the dawn of the new millennium. On the precipice of its emergence as a global power, China is experiencing cataclysms of modernity as its harsh Maoist strictures meet the chaotic flux of globalism. What remains of the Middle Kingdom’s ancient cultural riches? And can a Westerner truly understand China’s past and present—or the murky waters where the two meet?

Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens is both a travel memoir and the chronicle of a distinct intellectual shift as one of the most captivating contemporary writers and thinkers begins to engage with the cultures of Asia and the legacies of its interactions with Europe in a newly globalized society. Rendered in English by award-winning translator Ottilie Mulzet, Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens is an important work, marking the emergence of Krasznahorkai as a truly global novelist.
10
Kiotó mellett, egy kolostor az úti célja Genji herceg unokájának, aki több száz éve próbál rábukkanni a századik kertre, a világ rendjét kifejező legegyszerűbb és legtökéletesebb helyre. A regény a kutatás egyik állomását mutatja be, a kolostor megtalálását, az udvarok, szentélyek, és kertek rendját járja végig. A keleti környezetben játszódó regény mese, példázat, egyszerre felkavaró és megnyugtató szöveg: a kert megtalálását illetve
elvetését egyként, egyszerre dokumentálja. A könyv megjelenése a kortárs irodalom újabb fontos eseménye.