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Showing posts from October, 2014

Eastern promises II

James Wood may not practice the sexy theoretical criticism of the academy, but for all his critical conservatism, he’s an animal which may soon become extinct: a Critic. Unafraid to draw attention to an emperor’s nudity (his review of David Mitchell’s Bone Clocks in the New Yorker a few weeks ago was laudatory but notably cool), he offers a critical opinion I’m inclined to trust. Wood has become a barometer, as the best critics are, rather than a salesman. Thanks to Wood, I’ve been put onto Jenny Offill (Dept of Speculation), and Wood’s essay on Lázsló Kraznahorkai in 2011 alerted me to the Hungarian writer’s work. I’ve finally read Kraznahoraki’s first novel, Sátántango, first published in 1985 and translated by the British-Hungarian poet George Szirtes in 2012.



A still from Bela Tarr's 1994 adaptation of Kraznahorkai's novel

Sátántango is a maniac’s rain-sodden rant: powerful and nightmarish and dull. Beckett meets Kafka: difficult and alienating, mythic and vague. A dead cat…