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László Krasznahorkai  [ Hungary ]


© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2002, 2008, 2010, 2014.




Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1990

[Ü: Hans Skirecki]

Melancholie des Widerstandes


Zürich, 1992

[Ü: Hans Skirecki]

Krieg und Krieg


Zürich, 1999

[Ü: Hans Skirecki]

Im Norden ein Berg, im Süden ein See,
im Westen Wege, im Osten ein Fluß


Zürich, 2005

[Ü: Christina Viragh]

Seiobo auf Erden

S. Fischer

Frankfurt/Main, 2010

[Ü: Heike Flemming]

László Krasznahorkai was born in 1954 in Gyula in Hungary. He studied Law in Szeged and later Hungarian Language and Literature in Budapest. In 1985 his début novel »Sátántangó« (tr: Satan's Tango) appeared, which was later (1994) filmed by Béla Tarr, based on Krasznahorkai's own adaptation of his novel. The collaboration between the author and the director led to three other film-adaptations of Krasznahorkai's novels, as well as what Tarr declared to be his last film »A Torinói ló« (2011; En. The Turin Horse).

In his works, Krasznahorkai creates a world in which the glory-days of classical heroes are over. The atmosphere itself takes on the role of protagonist. The characters behave like puppets whose strings are entwined somewhere up in the darkness. They are profound loners and fugitives who never stop running. It seems as if Kafka was not only godfather to these individuals, but also to the stylistic consistency and the nightmarish unity of the novels. In this novel »Háború és háború« (1999; tr. War and War), the author presents a scenario which is as melancholy as it is critical: on the threshold of the new millennium Korin,~Oberarchiver~candidate (a high-ranking archivist), travels from his provincial home town to New York in order to die there, »in the centre of life«. On the way, he passes through many important sites in Occidental history, from Crete and Rome to the~Hallen für neue Kunst (Halls of Modern Art) in Schaffhausen. Everywhere he goes, he finds verses for his requiem, and only the thought of a manuscript sewn into the seams of his coat gives him hope that his journey has a meaning. Krasznahorkai's latest novel, »Eszakról hegy, Délről tó, Nyugatról utak, Keletről folyó« (2003, tr: To the North a Mountain, to the South a Sea, to the West are Roads, to the East a River) is set in Japan. In this book, the past and the present, reality and transcendence blur into one another, leading the reader along with the grandson of Prince Genji – a character from a historical novel – to »the most beautiful garden«, a realm between meditation and literature. The imagery from far eastern cultural history flows in manifold ways into his collection of short stories »Seiobos auf Erden« (2010; tr. Seiobos on Earth). His most recent novel »Megy a világ« (2013: tr. The World First) will be released in German in 2015. 2012 saw the theatre premiere of »The Well-Tempered Clavier« - which is based on his novel »Melancholie des Widerstandes« (tr. Melancholy of Resistance) - performed at the Maison de la Culture 93 in Paris and the Berliner Schaubühne.

Krasznahorkai has won numerous awards, including the Jószef-Attila-Prize, the Tibor-Déry-Prize, the SWR Prize, the Kossuth-Prize, the Sándor-Márai-Prize and in 2010, the »Brücke Berlin«- and the Spycher-Prize. He received the 2014 Vilenica Award issued by the Slovenian Writers’ Association and the »Neue Rundschau« dedicated a monograph to him, with contributions from Etgar Keret, Clemens Meyer and Adam Thirlwell among others. The author teaches at Columbia University and lives near Budapest.


 László Krasznahorkai
© Ali Ghandtschi

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