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Krasznahorkai, László

Entry updated 31 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

(1954-    ) Hungarian author whose first novel to come to international attention, Sátántangó ["Satan's Tango"] (1985; trans George Szirtes as Satantango 2012), is placed in an isolated, apocalyptically claustrophobic collective farm; the narrative, disjunctively evocative of the works of Franz Kafka, conveys a sense of profound cenotaphic abandonment: for the farm is one of the places of the world that time and history have vacated. Satantango is not a work of twentieth century sf, but can readily be apprehended as a marker of the evolution of Fantastika; his later novels deepen and bring forward this sense of proleptic alertedness. Az ellenállás melankóliája ["The Melancholy of Resistance"] (1989; trans George Szirtes as The Melancholy of Resistance 1998) is set within another encirclement from which escape is impossible, in this case a circus totally vacant except for a taxidermied whale; the protagonist of Háború és háború ["War and War"] (1999; trans George Szirtes as War and War 2006) is hallucinated by a New York whose inner workings are impenetrable to research; and Seiobo járt odalent ["Seiobo There Below"] (coll of linked stories 2008; trans Ottilie Mulzet as Seiobo There Below 2013) comprises seventeen stories – some of them literally fantastic – whose numbering follows the Fibonacci sequence (see Oulipo), a mosaic portrait of the impenetrable gap between art (or apprehension) and world which invokes moments of exquisite vastation (see Horror in SF). [JC]

László Krasznahorkai

born Gyula, Békés County, Hungary: 5 January 1954

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