figuring out László Krasznahorkai

Lazlo Kraznahorkai SELECTS-8487.fl copyPeter Marshall at The Point:

This May, after decades of steadily gaining acclaim in the English speaking world, the Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai was awarded the Man Booker International Prize. Even with this honor, and although he has packed venues in London and New York, Krasznahorkai’s reputation for difficulty will likely continue to limit his audience. Open one of his books and you will be greeted by pages of unbroken text that take readers into a labyrinth of ideas and minute details, contradictions and verbal energy that is unlike anything else in contemporary literature.

In contrast to the overriding trend in contemporary American literature, which can be crudely, though not inaccurately, generalized as being concerned with the psychological and emotional lives of individuals in specific sociopolitical settings, Krasznahorkai’s fiction is populated by ideas, and boiling through his flood of language is a very philosophic conflict with time. Teetering on the brink of madness, characters devise systems of meaning, devote themselves to art, follow charlatans and place their faith in absurd causes in the ultimately futile attempt to halt the onslaught of change.

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