The Melancholy of Resistance (Paperback)
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From the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize
A powerful, surreal novel, in the tradition of Gogol, about the chaotic events surrounding the arrival of a circus in a small Hungarian town. The Melancholy of Resistance, László Krasznahorkai's magisterial, surreal novel, depicts a chain of mysterious events in a small Hungarian town. A circus, promising to display the stuffed body of the largest whale in the world, arrives in the dead of winter, prompting bizarre rumors. Word spreads that the circus folk have a sinister purpose in mind, and the frightened citizens cling to any manifestation of order they can find music, cosmology, fascism. The novel's characters are unforgettable: the evil Mrs. Eszter, plotting her takeover of the town; her weakling husband; and Valuska, our hapless hero with his head in the clouds, who is the tender center of the book, the only pure and noble soul to be found. Compact, powerful and intense, The Melancholy of Resistance, as its enormously gifted translator George Szirtes puts it, "is a slow lava flow of narrative, a vast black river of type." And yet, miraculously, the novel, in the words of The Guardian, "lifts the reader along in lunar leaps and bounds."
About the Author
The winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature and the 2015 Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement, László Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, Hungary.
The book, a collection of two short stories, acts as a distillation of
Krasznahorkai’s essential themes: apocalypse and the death of innocent
— Jake Romm
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
Krasznahorkai's artistry merits serious notice. May further translations grant him the wider notice he deserves among English-speaking readers.
Ingeniously composed and fascinating.
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.
One of the great novels of the last quarter-century—like a MittelEuropean Moby Dick.
— Garth Risk Hallberg