Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming

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$29.95  $27.85
New Directions Publishing Corporation
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5.6 X 2.2 X 8.1 inches | 1.8 pounds
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About the Author

The winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature and the 2015 Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement, László Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, Hungary.

Ottilie Mulzet is a literary critic and translator of Hungarian. Mulzet received the National Book Award for Translated Literature in 2019 for her translation of László Krasznahorkai's Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming and the Best Translated Book Award in 2014 for her translation of Krasznahorkai's Seiobo There Below.

The baron cuts a memorable figure, but the real star of Krasznahorkai's story is a philosopher who has cut himself off from society and lives in hermitage in a forest park, concerned with problems of being and nonbeing. In the end, the worlds the philosopher, the baron, and other characters inhabit are slated to disappear in a wall of flame.-- (07/01/2019)
A master of peripatetic, never-ending sentences that brim over with vacillations, qualifications, and false epiphanies.--Will Harrison
Krasznahorkai establishes his own rules and rides a wave of exhilarating energy in this sprawling, nonpareil novel, which harkens back to early works such as Satantango but with the benefit of the Man Booker International Prize winner's mature powers. In a small Hungarian town, an eccentric and isolated genius known only as the Professor occupies a specially designed hut, ravaged by uncontrollable thoughts and trying to rid himself of "human imbecility" while keeping unsavory watch on his daughter. There will soon be more to watch: the ruined Baron Bela Wenckheim is returning home by train, in flight from his extensive gambling debts, only to fall in with a colorful collection of locals, all looking to take advantage of the Baron by one means or another. There's the roughneck regulars of the local pub, the scheming town mayor looking to gin up excitement over the Baron's return for his own visibility, and the con man Dante of Szolnok, whom the Baron encounters casually only to find he has his fingers in any pie from which he can extract a profit. The one bright spot in this Greek chorus of rogues is Marika, the Baron's childhood sweetheart, whose romantic desires to reunite with the refined boy she remembers will be tested by corrosive new realities. This vortex of a novel compares neatly with Dostoevsky and shows Krasznahorkai at the absolute summit of his decades-long project. Apocalyptic, visionary, and mad, it flies off the page and stays lodged intractably wherever it lands.-- (06/20/2019)
A vision of painstaking beauty.
One of the most mysterious artists now at work.--Colm Tóibín
His works tends to get passed around like rare currency. One of the most profoundly unsettling experiences I have had as a reader.--James Wood "The New Yorker "
The Hungarian master of the apocalypse.--Susan Sontag
If you're a fan of Krasznahorkai, you already know that you need to read this one: the final volume in his four-part series, in which the aging Baron Bela Wenckheim proceeds home to Hungary, to the highly absurd town of his birth.--Emily Temple "Lit Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2019 "
Krasznahorkai's world falls apart along manmade fault lines. Fascinating.--Paul J. Griffiths
A masterpiece, the culminating work of the extraordinary Hungarian writer's career. The alternation of narrative darkness and radiant syntactical beauty makes this my personal favorite of the year.--Michael Silverblatt
Krasznahorkai's headlong comedy of obsession and wonderful squalor set in small-town Hungary. Majestic.
Krasznahorkai is a pungent delineator of character, and the landscape of his imaginary city is peopled with figures as busy and distinctive as those of a painting by Bruegel. While the novel energetically pursues Krasznahorkai's habitual themes - disorder, spiritual drought, the impossibility of meaning in the absence of God - it does so in a tone that glitters with comic detail.--Jane Shilling
With an immense cast and wide-ranging erudition, this novel, the culmination of a Hungarian master's career, offers a sweeping view of a contemporary moment that seems deprived of meaning.
"Krasznahorkai's novels are less grim than grimoire - books of magic spells that, by their invocation, conjure worlds. It is a turn of great fortune to be alive and to have these novels that are filled to the brim with strange life."--Ian Maxton