Sátántangó

László Krasznahorkai

Sátántangó

In the darkening embers of a Communist utopia, life in a desolate Hungarian town has come to a virtual standstill. Flies buzz, spiders weave, water drips and animals root desultorily in the barnyard of a collective farm. But when the charismatic Irimias - long-thought dead - returns to the commune, the villagers fall under his spell. The Devil has arrived in their midst. 4.2 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Sátántangó

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 320
RRP
Date of Publication May 2012
ISBN 978-1848877641
Publisher Tuskar Rock
 

In the darkening embers of a Communist utopia, life in a desolate Hungarian town has come to a virtual standstill. Flies buzz, spiders weave, water drips and animals root desultorily in the barnyard of a collective farm. But when the charismatic Irimias - long-thought dead - returns to the commune, the villagers fall under his spell. The Devil has arrived in their midst.

Reviews

The New York Times

Jacob Silverman

Satantango, Krasznahorkai’s first book, shares many of his later novels’ thematic concerns — the abeyance of time, an apocalyptic sense of crisis and decay — but it’s an altogether more digestible work. Its story skips around in perspective and temporality, but the narrative is rarely unclear. For a writer whose characters often exhibit a claustrophobic interiority, Krasznahorkai also shows himself to be unexpectedly expansive and funny here.

16/03/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Beth Jones

Sátántangó melds together elements of carnival, religion, black comedy, Hungarian politics and folklore into an open-ended allegory about the nature of storytelling itself: it is about the stories we tell ourselves in order to live and those we tell others in order to control them; about the narratives from which reality is constructed and the limits to which they can be pushed. Intoxicating and exhilarating, bleak yet beautiful, Sátántangó is a modern masterpiece that manages to speak both of its time and to transcend it altogether.

17/05/2012

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The Times

Robbie Collins

Krasznahorkai’s narrative is too immensely strange to boil down to a critique, say, of socialism’s broken dreams. The novel is made up of a torrent of the characters’ inner lives; details of time and place bob up only glancingly on the surface of the “slow lava-flow of narrative”, as the author’s immensely gifted British translator, George Szirtes, puts it. Krasznahorkai’s prose doesn’t elucidate; it simply accumulates. His huge, rolling sentences have no edges to hold on to: nothing is ever explained or set out. And the denouement, after all this, is so brilliantly and insanely bizarre, it turns the entire novel on its head.

13/05/2012

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Times Literary Supplement

(Unknown)

It is so grim, dark and negative that it almost turns into its opposite, not least in the humour of its exaggerations, so wild as to make the diatribes of Thomas Bernhard – one of the likely antecedents for what is startling and odd in Krasznahorkai’s work – look almost tame by comparison. His characters are so unspeakably grotesque that, spoken, they become hilariously awful.

01/06/2012

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The Guardian

Theo Tait

If this summary of the first half of the novel sounds baffling, it's a hell of a lot clearer than the book itself. László Krasznahorkai's scenes are designed to disorient and defamiliarise ... Nevertheless, this is an obviously brilliant novel. Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer; even the strangest developments in the story convince, and are beautifully integrated within the novel's dance-like structure. It's a testament to Szirtes's translation, 10 years in the writing, that Krasznahorkai's vision leaps off the page.

09/05/2012

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The New Statesman

Jonathan Beckman

Krasznahorkai’s serpentine sentences serve multiple ends. They allow him to burrow down from the self-deceiving consciousnesses of his characters into feelings and thoughts that they cannot acknowledge or express. But they also enable him to confront the great question of late modernity: how does one create art from a meaningless world?

30/05/2012

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The Times

Kate Saunders

The prose is dense and slow and the reader is guaranteed not to smile once.

12/05/2012

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