At long last, twenty-five years after the Hungarian genius László Krasznahorkai burst onto the scene with his first novel, Satantango dances into English in a beautiful translation by George Szirtes. Already famous as the inspiration for the filmmaker Béla Tarr’s six-hour masterpiece, Satantango is proof, as the spellbinding, bleak, and hauntingly beautiful book has it, that “the devil has all the good times.” The story of Satantango, spread over a couple of days of endless rain, focuses on the dozen remaining inhabitants of an unnamed isolated hamlet: failures stuck in the middle of nowhere. Schemes, crimes, infidelities, hopes of escape, and above all trust and its constant betrayal are Krasznahorkai’s meat. “At the center of Satantango,” George Szirtes has said, “is the eponymous drunken dance, referred to here sometimes as a tango and sometimes as a csardas. It takes place at the local inn where everyone is drunk. . . . Their world is rough and ready, lost somewhere between the comic and tragic, in one small insignificant corner of the cosmos. Theirs is the dance of death.” “You know,” Mrs. Schmidt, a pivotal character, tipsily confides, “dance is my one weakness.”
László Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, Hungary in 1954. He has won numerous international literary awards and his works have been translated into many languages.
George Szirtes is a Hungarian-born British poet and translator who has translated works by Sándor Csoóri, Dezsö Kosztolányi, and László Krasznahorkai.
What People are Saying About This
W. G. Sebald
The universality of his vision rivals that of Dead Souls and far surpasses all the lesser concerns of contemporary writing.
I love Krasznahorkai’s books. His long, meandering sentences enchant me, and even if his universe appears gloomy, we always experience that transcendence which to Nietzsche represented metaphysical consolation.
Krasznahorkai is the contemporary Hungarian master of the apocalypse who inspires comparisons with Gogol and Melville.
Satantango 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
It's criminal that it took so long for Krasznahorkai's debut to be translated into English - though in consolation Szirtes's translation is excellent. Satantango is an agonizingly bleak character study, and though it's best known as the source of Bela Tarr's six-hour film the novel hasn't received the attention it's due. I can't recommend this novel enough. Just brace yourself for a lot of mud and spiderwebs.
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