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The Melancholy of Resistance Paperback – February 1, 2000
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“The book, a collection of two short stories, acts as a distillation of Krasznahorkai’s essential themes: apocalypse and the death of innocent violence.”
- Jake Romm, The New Inquiry
“The universality of its vision rivals that of Gogol's Dead Souls.”
- W. G. Sebald
“An inexorable, visionary book by the contemporary Hungarian master of apocalypse who inspires comparison with Gogol and Melville.”
- Susan Sontag
“In Krasznahorkai’s deft hands, the effect is a layered, freewheeling, amazingly persuasive tour of living human consciousness, in varied states of self-awareness.”
- Chris Lehmann, Newsday
“Krasznahorkai's artistry merits serious notice. May further translations grant him the wider notice he deserves among English-speaking readers.”
- Review of Contemporary Literature
“Ingeniously composed and fascinating.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“The Melancholy of Resistance is a slow lava flow of narrative, a vast black river of type.”
- George Szirtes
“Lifts the reader along in lunar leaps and bounds.”
- The Guardian
“One of the great novels of the last quarter-century―like a MittelEuropean Moby Dick.”
- Garth Risk Hallberg, The Millions --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Hungarian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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"He [Eszter] did not doubt for a moment that he was dealing not merely with technical matters but with issues of 'serious philosophical import', but it was only as he pondered more deeply that he realized that in progressing from 'Frachberger's tiny downward adjustment of the pure fifth' through his passionate researches into tonality he had arrived at an unavoidable crisis of faith where he had to ask himself whether that system of harmony to which all works of genius with their clear and absolute authority referred and on which he, who could certainly not be accused of harbouring illusions, had based his hitherto unshaken convictions, existed at all."
I have found a new favorite writer. After reading The Last Wolf and this, I want to read and reread everything by Krasznahorkai that I can find. One day I hope to read his work in Hungarian. The tightly tuned yet wailing prose, the brilliant tangents and asides ("...who could certainly not be accused of harbouring illusions"), and the action-packed introspection make me wake up in the middle of the night, turn on the light, and read. In the words of Valuska, "we hardly realize the extraordinary events to which we are witness."
Set in a small, crumbling Hungarian town, the action centers around the arrival of a travelling circus and the intimidatingly giant whale that the circus carries in tow. For the townspeople, the circus brings nothing but doubt and confusion. Is its arrival, coupled with the physical decay of the town (water tower collapses, lights mysteriously extinguish), a sign of the Apocalypse? Is the Prince, a deformed yet magnetic dwarf who travels with the circus, part of the attraction or is he, as some attest, urging the people to revolt?
Constructed in a bold style that adds to the overall weight of the novel (no line breaks- the book is one long paragraph with a handful of chapter breaks), "The Melancholy of Resistance" repulses on the surface but draws the reader in with its eloquent writing and slightly surrealistic tone. The characters are vibrant and alive- Valuska, the town idiot who may be the moral center of the novel; Mr. Eszter, the eccentric recluse obsessed with musical purity; and Mrs. Eszter, the power-seeking socialite who isn't above using her sexuality to achieve her goals. As these three tackle the existential meaning of the circus' arrival, events spiral out-of-control and everything they think is real is cast into doubt.
Laszlo Krasznahorkai's first novel, this book will linger in the readers' conscious long after the last page is read.
Most recent customer reviews
20 pages on why pianos are tuned to perfect forths