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IS LÁSZLÓ KRASZNAHORKAI FINISHED WITH NOVELS?

25 July

Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai is of that vanishingly rare breed of living writers whom it is astonishing to think of as contemporary. From his first novel, 1985’s Satantango, he has garnered comparisons not to the usual crop of popular novelists but to Beckett, Dostoyevsky, and Gogol. His books are echoic dirges that plumb the depths of human consciousness, taking place in downtrodden villages populated by madmen, charlatans, and recluses. Often the thoughts of a character will be rendered in a single sentence that can run on for pages, gathering definition and accruing implication like light passing through a crystal. Krasznahorkai is well-known for his long-running collaboration with revered Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr, with whom he adapted Satantango and 1989’s The Melancholy of Resistance (as Werckmeister Harmonies), along with original screenplays Damnation, The Man from London, and The Turin Horse. But it is still as a novelist that Krasznahorkai is best known; many consider him a contender for the Nobel, and, in 2015, he became the first Hungarian to win the Man Booker International Prize. This was followed in 2016 by Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming, recently translated into English by Ottilie Mulzet and set to be published by New Directions in September.

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