book cover with a crowd of peasants overlaid in green gothic text

Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming

Laszlo krasnahorkai     Recommended by Alan    

Fiction

Hailed as Hungarian author Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s masterwork, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming is a freewheeling and shambolic account of an ailing aristocrat returning to the provincial town of his youth, where he hopes to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Moving between narrators and viewpoints, the novel is “a mesmerisingly strange experience: a slab of late modernist grindcore and a fiercely committed exercise in blacker-than-black absurdity,” with sentences that run for pages, disjunctive narrative breaks and unapologetic slapstick. It is sometimes hard to tell how much disruption is due to the translation, which I felt to be a little rushed. Krasznahorkai remains one of my favourite authors and I looked forward to this release, but I feel describing Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming as a masterwork diminishes some of his prior novels like Satantango and Seiobo There Below.

Allen & Unwin 2020 

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