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Satantango Hardcover – March 5, 2012
Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Satantango was Krasznahorkai's first novel, published in 1985 but only translated now into English. I've read Satantango in French but I don't know Hungarian, so I can only say that Szirtes seems to have done as wonderful a job here as he did with Melancholy.
Satantango is the story of a tiny rural Hungarian village and its miserable, static inhabitants. A drunk doctor, a barman, farmers, and a few others have affairs and go about their lives. A certain tragedy strikes, and simultaneously a (very) false prophet named Irimias appears to play havoc in the tragedy's aftermath. It is a simple story, made complex by a precise, nightmarish build-up of small, unsettling details and destabilizing loops of prose that makes you feel like the very basis of reality is falling apart, reflecting the condition of the villagers.
The prose is thick and miasmic, though not as labyrinthine as Krasznahorkai's subsequent work. There is more acute cruelty in this book, in contrast to the sublime chaos that takes over in Melancholy of Resistance. Here is the doctor sitting by his window, watching the others:
"He had had to amass and arrange, in the most serviceable positions possible, the objects indispensable for eating, drinking, smoking, diary-writing, reading and countless other trifling tasks, and even had to renounce allowing the occasional error to go unpunished out of self-indulgence pure and simple."
Those who have a great affection for other voices of chaos and fracture, like Kleist and Kafka and Beckett, should read Krasznahorkai. I would rank him among them.Read more ›
The same people tell the same stories over and over, even though others could tell the same stories and maybe do it better. Others go through the same routine motions each day/week. You can set your clock/calendar by their actions. Though they want things to change for the better, of course they don't want to be forced to change. To their credit, they lack that particular ability. Their contribution to the world is based on the way things "were" not on the way things "are".
But, salvation is on the way. A savior will come with the solution to their problems, with the cure to their disease, with their futures secured. Unless he is dead. Or was that just a rumor? Or perhaps it was both a rumor and the truth. He is coming, though. Right? Things will be better then. Right?
Unlike "stream of conscience" stories, he seems to write "stream of description" stories. His narrators have to include every possible word, or set of them, that will explain the thoughts and actions of the characters to the reader. It is like the person who breathlessly begins "let me tell you what happened" and minutes later still isn't done but has to stop to gasp in some air before continuing, and continuing, and .... (As in, "Pull up a seat. This may take a while.")
Thus, we enter the minds of the characters and not only hear their spoken words but also read their thoughts. All of them.Read more ›
In a post,I read it stated that " I felt this book had a lot of central European mythology that has been brought to the modern age and also what makes myths..Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is not an easy read, but if you can make it to the end you will be completely blown away. I was. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Satantango is set in a desolate abandoned hamlet, still occupied by a dozen losers lacking the will to leave. They’re petty, venal, greedy, self-centered, and often drunk. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Patrican
"It is a call to action," the bells chimes like a warning, like a symbol of hope or deceitful optimism: the tango beings. Read morePublished 9 months ago by K.N.R.
Its a very cold, dark and somber story. It slowly makes your feel being part of an icy, wet world, where nothing is right or transparent - and yet the hopelessness is so deep, that... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Finneby
This is a strange book and you probably won't ever read another like it. The plot goes here, there and everywhere and then ends up where you least expect it to.Published 14 months ago by Jon W. Florey
Laszlo Krasznahorkai was one of my first truly unique reading experiences in many years. I'm normally prone to specific classics (Sylvia Plath; Edgar Allan Poe; JD Salinger; etc)... Read morePublished 19 months ago by lakinlink