Top positive review
"We hardly realize the extraordinary events to which we are witness"
on September 24, 2017
The Melancholy of Resistance draws me into mind after mind. It seems, as I read, that I am thinking the characters' and narrator's thoughts. I am most drawn to Mr. Eszter and Valuska--but the others seem real too from the inside. Even Mrs. Eszter becomes intuitive and visceral. This little town, unprepared for the visiting circus and the havoc that follows from it, contains a panoply of mental rhythms and breaks, peaks and falls. Things happen and break, and the thoughts are among them, as real and fragile as the rest. Some passages make me laugh no matter where I am; others wrap me up; and others leave me with sadness. Here's a passage that does all three (from p. 116):
"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."