Today’s Washington Post carries my review of Seiobo There Below by Laszlo Krasznahorkai. What can I say? This is one of the most amazing, most important, most notable books to have been published in 2013. Full stop.
I kinda feel like people are reading this book in the wrong way. In the reviews of Seiobo I’m seeing a lot of hell, damnation, apocalypse, etc. Now, of course, this is Krasznahorkai, so those aspects are in evidence, but I really don’t think this is what Seiobo is about, at least not in the way that Satantango, The Melancholy of Resistance, and War & War were about those things. This is a very different side of that coin. I really see it as Krasznahorkai’s statement that, despite our very definite, very real tendencies toward destruction (which Krasznahorkai has chronicled more than any other contemporary author), humans also need and inspire transcendence just as much. And this is his book-length inquiry into how and why that happens. And it’s an amazing answer to what is possibly the most important question of all.
On that subject, I would highly recommend my interview with Ottilie Mulzet, translator of Seiobo. She speaks a lot about this theme as it emerges in Krasznahorkai’s work in the books after War & War.
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- Seiobo There Below in Coffin Factory Very nice review of Seiobo There Below by Quarterly Conversation contributor Madeleine LaRue: The demonic is the shadow of the sacred, and Krasznahorkai does not...
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