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Seiobo There Belowby Laszlo Krasznahorkai
Not since Bolaño's 2666 have I read a novel that was at once so beautifully composed, heartbreaking, imperfectly epic, singular, effortlessly alluring, sprawlingly reflective, and comprising the gradations of earthly reality and its many hues of horror and hopefulness. László Krasznahorkai's Seiobo There Below — if such an achievement could even be distilled without imperiling its potency — is a work of art and beauty about art and beauty. With the sacred, solemn, and sublime swirling nearby, Seiobo stakes its claim against a world that increasingly cherishes the disposable and frivolous while overlooking and discarding the sacramental or magnificent.
Synopses & Reviews
Seiobo — a Japanese goddess — has a peach tree in her garden that blossoms once every three thousand years: its fruit brings immortality. In Seiobo There Below, we see her returning again and again to mortal realms, searching for a glimpse of perfection. Beauty, in Krasznahorkai’s new novel, reflects, however fleetingly, the sacred — even if we are mostly unable to bear it. Seiobo shows us an ancient Buddha being restored; Perugino managing his workshop; a Japanese Noh actor rehearsing; a fanatic of Baroque music lecturing a handful of old villagers; tourists intruding into the rituals of Japan’s most sacred shrine; a heron hunting.… Over these scenes and more — structured by the Fibonacci sequence — Seiobo hovers, watching it all.
The latest novel from “the contemporary Hungarian master of the apocalypse” (Susan Sontag).
About the Author
László Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, Hungary, in 1954 and lives in the hills of Szentlászló, Hungary. He has written several novels and won numerous prizes, including Best Book of the Year in Germany in 1993 for The Melancholy of Resistance and the 2010 Brücke Berlin Prize for Seiobo. His other books include Animalinside, Satantango, and War and War.
Ottilie Mulzet is a literary critic and translator of Hungarian. New Directions published her translation of Krasznahorkai’s Animalinside.
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