The Master of the Apocalypse
May 20, 2015 1:36 AM   Subscribe

László Krasznahorkai, the Hungarian author, wins the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Awarded for his work, including the only recently available in English Satantango, and the The Melancholy of Resistance (1993 Book of the Year in Germany). Master of the long sentence his work has won praise from critics as a writer who is "fascinated by apocalypse, by broken revelations, indecipherable messages" [See New Yorker link above] and has been praised by many writers, including Susan Sontag, who described the apocalyptic vision of his writing as inviting comparisons to Melville and Gogol. He has collaborated extensively with Hungarian film director and master of the long take, Béla Tarr, including a 7 hour production of Satantango (SLYT) and Tarr's bleak, final work The Turin Horse (SLYT, Hungarian, turn sub-titles if required). Lovingly and expertly translated into English by British poet and Hungarian-born George Szirtes and more latterly by the Hungarian translator Ottilie Muzlet, Krashnorkai caused something of a literary sensation when he visited New York in 2012. As usual The Guardian has a useful summary of, and guide to, his work including many useful links. None are better than the author's own website. I would also recommend the interview with him in The White Review to read what the author has to say for himself. Previous love for Krasznahorkai on Metafilter can be found here and here.
posted by vac2003 (7 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
So so so good. All of it.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:08 AM on May 20, 2015

I’ve been recommending Krasznahorkai here since 2004, so I’m very pleased to see this. It’s great to see Szirtes and Mulzet get some reward for their formidable efforts in bringing us Krasznahorkai in English.
posted by misteraitch at 2:46 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I’m also happy to learn that (from the interview with Mulzet) that there are three more translations forthcoming: Destruction and Sorrow Beneath the Heavens (‘literary reportage based on Krasznahorkai’s extensive travels in China’); The World Goes On (a collection of short stories) and From the North by Hill, From the South by Lake, From the West by Roads, From the East by River (a novel).
posted by misteraitch at 3:50 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm excited about getting into this author. Thanks for posting.
posted by angrycat at 6:22 AM on May 20, 2015

Out of what was already a very strong short list, I think this was a great choice. I hope prospective readers aren't put off by all this talk of long sentences and apocalypse (unless you like that, because his early stuff is chock full of it). His prose, while dense, is positively hypnotic and seductive. And for all the talk of doom and gloom, his latest in English, Seiobo There Below, is all about beauty and transcendence through art.

For more Krasznahorkai, I'd recommend James Wood's piece from the New Yorker. Wood's a critic I with which frequently disagree, but his piece intrigued me enough to check out Krasznahorkai, which I'm very glad I did.

I also love the radio interviews Krasznahorkai did with Michael Silverblatt for KCRW's Bookworm. He did one for Seiobo There Below and one for Satantango.
posted by fryman at 6:27 AM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

I read Satantango last summer. It was the most hilariously bleak thing I'd read in a long time, and super stylish. Good to hear that translations of his other books are in the works.
posted by cog_nate at 7:31 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ottilie Mulzet's translation of Seiobo There Below also won the Best Translated Book Award from the University of Rochester last year. It deserves all the prizes, and a lot more attention than it's yet had from American readers.
posted by RogerB at 1:59 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

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