“I was absolutely not a normal child”

Cynthia Haven at Book Haven, on Colm Toibin interviewing Laszlo Krasznahorkai in London:

Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, close to the Romanian border. Tóibín quoted Auden saying that a writer’s childhood should have as much neurosis as a child can take. “I was absolutely not a normal child,” replied the Hungarian writer.

“I chose that.”

For awhile, he lived in a village in the countryside “very far from Budapest, very far from the next village,” a place that was filled with “houses with peasants and tiers,” he said, switching briefly to German to refer to the cows and livestock that cohabit the spaces. “Rain and an absolutely hopeless sky. … no heaven, no questions about heaven. Only how can I drink the next pálinka? What can we eat?”

“I had the feeling that this kind of people only lived down below. They were not 30 or 60 years old, but 6,000 years old, without names. Everyone was the same, every fate was the same – like rain. A drop came down, and then another.”

“I chose that. I was 19 years old.” He compensated by reading Dostoevsky, Dante, and ancient Greek literature.

Before 1989, he said, “Hungary was an absolutely unreal, crazy country. Abnormal and unbearable. After 1989, it became normal and unbearable.” In what he called “Old Hungary,” there was “very big misery – the mood was unbelievably sad and hopeless.”



Recent Posts




Criticism Isn't Free


CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!





Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

THE SURRENDER

The Surrender is Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning his lifelong desire to be a woman.


LADY CHATTERLEY'S BROTHER

Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


THE LATIN AMERICAN MIXTAPE

5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2016. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.