The Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai is a trickster, a jester entertaining an unhappy court, his sentences elongated to the point of absurdity, and absurdity is very much the man’s point. In The Last Wolf & Herman, published in English by New Directions Press in 2017 (the translators are George Szirtes and John Batki), the first tale is a long story/short novella, The Last Wolf (published in Hungary in 2009). It unfurls over a single sentence covering seventy pages and conjures thoughts of one of Krasznahorkai’s heroes, the Austrian master Thomas Bernhard. The philosophizing in The Last Wolf recalls not just the tar-black humor of Bernhard but also a more ebullient and insuppressible Thomas Mann. Krasznahorkai is a joker but not a quipster or aphorist.
What does it mean to create a new artistic form? Anna Heflin did just that with her new album, The Redundancy of the Angelic: An Interluding Play. She describes the work, which blends music and text, as having been inspired by “spiders, apocalyptic angels and my encounters in Los Angeles.” The result is a challenging, immersive work that draws on a host of disparate influences. We spoke about its genesis and her own multidisciplinary pursuits via email.
In our weekend reading: thoughts on an Eleanor Davis graphic novel, an interview with Kiley Reid, and more.
Snow’s on the ground, the winds are chilly, and the holiday season looms. December can be an unexpected month for new books. But there are a host of gems due out in the coming weeks, including a number of great works in translation, some boldly inscribed poetry, and new and unpredictable novels from some of our favorite writers. Here are some December books that caught our eye.
In our afternoon reading: revisiting the music of Alice Coltrane, an interview with Tom McAllister, and much more.
In our morning reading: revisiting the music of Gill Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, thoughts on collections by Carmen Maria Machado and Denis Johnson, and more.
In our morning reading: thoughts on books by László Krasznahorkai and Jenny Diski, new writing by Brandon Taylor, and more.
In our afternoon reading: reviews of books by László Krasznahorkai and Louise Erdrich, new writing by Victor LaValle, and more.