‘Like a Burning House’ by László Krasznahorkai, trans. George Szirtes

I must declare my disinterest in Krasznahorkai’s unbearably gravid prose, the questions he addresses are of little interest to me. That said, in both The Melancholy of Resistance and War and War, he has written opening chapters that I’ve been unable to forget. Every morning on my way to work, I must cross a railway footbridge. I never do so without recalling the unbearably tense atmosphere that Krasznahorkai described as a ‘single moment of fright’, those moments that arrive and depart for no explicable reason, but leave a scar that never fades.

From War and War, Tuskar Rock Press, 2016. It is available online here

‘Wandering-Standing’ by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet

When I first read ‘Wandering-Standing’ by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, I wanted to throw the book against my living room wall. I wanted nothing to do with such astounding writing. The strongest association with the collection I could tolerate would be the dent the book left on the wall before I had removed it from my life altogether. I’ve since revised my opinion and let it move back in. Krasznahorkai lives (and no doubt thinks) in a different time signature to the rest of the planet. If he gives you music, it will always be a deceptive cadence. He labours over not just the remoteness and propinquity of experiences, but over the space-shaped spaces in between each moment. He describes desire as ‘the yearning of a person not only to be transported to the greatest distance from his present position, but to the place of great promise’. He focuses not on general streets but the shape the street makes on your shoe. There is so much security to be found in Krasznahorkai precarious methods… you can trust him and you really should.

Collected in The World Goes On, New Directions, 2017. Can be read online here