Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Satantango and Animalinside by Laszlo Krasznahorkai

On Monday, I was lucky enough to attend a rare US reading by the Hungarian author Laszlo Krasznahorkai at The Housing Works Bookstore in Manhattan. Housing Works is an great non-profit organization that addresses issues surrounding both AIDS/HIV and homelessness, and advocates funding for legislation that would provide all AIDS/HIV-positive individuals with housing, health care, and point them towards a general healthy lifestyle. Housing Works operates a number of thrift stores all around New York and Brooklyn, and has an incredible bookstore and cafe in Manhattan full of great things (all of which were donated).

The Housing Works Bookstore somehow booked Laszlo Krasznahorkai, author of War & War, The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango, and Animalinside (as well as some other books yet to be translated into English). Krasznahorkai writes like no other--he's a brilliant, inimitable mind, and to put it bluntly I feel like I met a contemporary Dostoevsky. My favorite way to describe Krasznahorkai's writing is borrowed from his translator, George Szirtes, who calls Satantango a "slow lava flow of narrative." He writes maddening sentence chains which create block after block of text--all while brewing a stormy cloud of anti-religious themes and a captivating plot.

Many thanks to New Directions from bringing Krasznahorkai here. Here's their great hardcover edition of Satantango:


Also by Krasznahorkai is an equally crazy chapbook called Animalinside. With similar themes as Satantango, Animalinside is a collaboration with the artist Max Neumann. Published by Sylph Editions and distributed in the US by New Directions, this too is a gorgeous volume (and includes a great introduction by Colm Toibin!):


I've got my eye on Sylph Editions, and will save a more thorough post on them once I get my hands on more to share.

If you're interested in reading more about Krasznahorkai, my about.com reviews of Satantango and Animalinside are embedded here.

Currently Reading:
New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Essays by Colm Toibin

Currently listening to:
Hot 97

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