Read Animalinside by László Krasznahorkai Max Neumann Ottilie Mulzet Colm Tóibín Online


As if some chained being had to shake its essence free, as if art taken to its limit were a form of howling, Animalinside explodes from its first line: "He wants to break free, attempts to stretch open the walls, but he has been tautened by them, and there he remains in this tautening, in this constraint, and there is nothing to do but howl. . . ." To create this work thatAs if some chained being had to shake its essence free, as if art taken to its limit were a form of howling, Animalinside explodes from its first line: "He wants to break free, attempts to stretch open the walls, but he has been tautened by them, and there he remains in this tautening, in this constraint, and there is nothing to do but howl. . . ." To create this work that strains against all constraints, László Krasznahorkai began from one of Max Neumann’s paintings; Neumann, spurred into action, created 14 more images, which unleashed an additional 13 texts from the author. Animalinside is the rare case of two matchless artists meeting across disciplines, and New Directions is very proud to publish a limited edition of this powerful novella, exquisitely produced by Sylph Editions and the Cahiers Series of the American University of Paris with a deluxe seven-stage printing process for the amazing Neumann images....

Title : Animalinside
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780811219167
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 48 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Animalinside Reviews

  • Greg
    2019-01-09 05:06

    First, this book smells great. I don't know if it's the ink used in the beautiful and textured illustrations or one of the three types of paper used but something smells wonderful. I don't usually go around sniffing books (ok, sometimes I sniff the books I'm reading, there are some very nice smelling books out there from fancy smells like this book has to comforting dusty and moldering smells in old books), but the smells of this book jump right out when you open up the pages. In my hopes to be ignored at work and left to do my job with no further expectations (because I have no further expectations from the company so I'm looking to set up a relationship based on mutual expectations, maybe if I'm offered even the possibility of a cost of living raise in the future I'll reconsider my attitude) I only present books to our daily 'show and tell' sessions with inane comments like this book smells good. That is how I presented this book after I gave some mumbled praise for the author's two earlier works that have been translated into English. Since I'm not paid to read on the job I think observations of the olfactory qualities of books are perfectly acceptable.I'm sure you, the'ers, want something more from me than the observation that this book smells good. Well, guess what? The book reads good, too. Oh, and it's a stunning to look at. This is a great example of a reading experience that couldn't be captured on one of those infernal electronic reading devices. Everything about the book's physicality is superb. The paper. The font. The illustrations. Fuck you e-readers, I don't want six choices of a font, I want someone skilled at coming up with a font that is perfect for a text to come up with one. I want someone to make the artistic decision to the size of the text. I want well layed out pages, not the hodge-podge bullshit mess of just words on a screen that I can change at will to fulfill a homogeneity to every book I read. Oh and fuck you to anyone who tells me 'get on board' with this stupid trend and even ever getting a raise at work isn't going to change my position on e-readers. But, this review shouldn't be a rant against those awful machines that are only good for reading throw-away books, this is a review about a really beautiful book that has within it's pages a dark and apocalyptic 'story'. Ok, not a story, more of a series of monologues from the darkness that lives inside each and everyone of us. The animal side, the destructive impulse, the part that gets in the way of every humanist ideal and that has made a mockery of every -ism that has promised some unredeemable utopian check. If I got the introduction right (which I skimmed really fast, I don't know why I got bored with those two pages, but I didn't go back to read it, and I've already put the book in 'safe' keeping on a shelf, and I'm so lazy to get up and look to make sure I'm correct), the first chapter of the book (each chapter is only at most a couple of pages) was Krasznahorkai writing based on a Max Neumann drawing. The picture shows a dog, like on the cover of the book, trapped in a space. The subsequent chapters the author wrote and then they were illustrated by the artist, so the end result is a collaboration with each person using the other's work as inspiration. The words and art co-mingle very nicely together, they each add something to the other. It's not a case of the book being illustrated to show off narrative points, and the illustrations don't feel redundant or unrelated (but forced to fit into the 'work'), rather both the words and the pictures each help to open each other up, they add dimensions to each other, they help give each other 'meaning' (whatever that 'means'). I wanted to find the books first illustration online so I could share a good quality picture of it (rather than take a picture of my own of it, which wouldn't look very good), but I couldn't find it, so instead this is from later on the in book, which is a picture that Neumann would have done in response to Krasznahorkai's words.Nice isn't it? Now imagine it smelling great and having a great texture. You know you want to track down a copy of this beautiful and bleak short piece of literature. And you better do so quickly because there are only 2000 of these being printed and well it will be a nice book to own.

  • M. Sarki
    2019-01-07 05:29 know I generally love this guy Krasznahorkai. But this book, not so hot. It was OK, but still, I was disappointed. I'll tell you why. There are collaborations, and then some. Often they work, and often they do not. I am a large fan of László Krasznahorkai and his work with film maker Béla Tarr. I enjoyed his last novel War & War. This latest book, a collaborative effort, Animalinside, looks interesting enough, has a theme I enjoy visiting, but I feel the work is just more of the same death-drive literature that Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, and others have already done to perfection. A little pretentious actually. I almost wish he wouldn't have made it. Max Neumann, the artist collaborator, meant nothing to me before reading this book and he means even less to me since owning some of his work on the pages of the book I just so happened to purchase. I know about animals, I know where we come from. I am not a "creationist". It is a beastly world we live in and then we die. The mystery is in the details of a life, not in the ending of it. The ending is nothing. Nothing is nothing. You get my drift?

  • Chad Post
    2018-12-20 07:24

    The whole Cahiers Series is brilliant and beautiful (see for more info), but this is something beyond . . . ANIMALINSIDE is really a two-author, two-medium work. It's made up of 14 short pieces by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, all written in response to paintings by Max Neumann. (To clarify, Krasznahorkai wrote the first piece after the first artwork, and his text inspired Neumann's other pieces.) And the text itself! Holy. Shit. That's really all I can say. I really liked Krasznahorkai's THE MELANCHOLY OF RESISTANCE (and look forward to reading WAR & WAR when there's time and peace), but this is something else. Reading this is being the presence of a master. Of a Beckett or a Kafka or a Joyce or a whomever floats your literary boat. What's undeniable is that this is something special that manages to be universal and mysterious, pointed and metaphorical all at once.I'm prone to hyperbole (as Ed Nawotka likes to remind me when editing my articles), so I want to include a snippet . . . although even that's a bit tricky, since most of these 14 pieces are each one long, meandering, subclause upon subclause, emotive gathering sentence each. (Or maybe a couple sentences.) But whatever. Here's a bit that will give you a sense of the rhythm, the power of this:"Shut tight your gates, and plug up the cracks, put up the beams and bring out the barbed wire, and protect yourselves from all sides, but know that you lock up in vain, you plug in vain, you raise beams in vain and wrap wire in vain, for that chink, that groove, that crevice which would be an obstacle for me does not exist; but it is just for that reason that you should barricade your gates and board up your windows, brick up your chimneys and protect yourselves, because I will break out, and I will arrive, and of course lock up your children well, and of course arm yourselves with many weapons, and organize your defense, and station the security guards, pull up the cordon and put the land-mines in place, just go ahead and do it, just get ready"As so on for another 30 lines or so . . . Each section is hypnotic, and taken as a whole, it's pretty damn powerful. Anyway, I'm 100% sure all my most bookish, Euro-centric friends will LOVE this little thing, which is so gorgeous that it's not just a book, but a true piece of art. And kudos to New Directions for distributing this Stateside. Ass and kicking. I can't recommend this enough.

  • Justin Evans
    2019-01-19 08:11

    Really? Colm Toibin wrote the introduction? Okay then. You'll be glad to know that, according to the introduction, Laszlo writes sentences. I think that's the take-away. (No stars)More importantly, this is certainly the only book I will ever read that left me wondering whether the speaker was between one and all of: THE VOID, a kind of evil Krishna, a psychotic, a teenage boy trapped in the suburbs and really wanting to break free, a large dinosaur, DEEEEEAAAAATH, or my own pet dog when she's hungry. What starts off--as another reviewer has said--as a kind of dullish, less entertaining Bernhard tale somehow ends up with the speaker demanding to be fed, and suddenly all the early "I WILL COME AND THERE WILL BE NOTHING LEFT OF YOUR PUNY EXISTENCE" stuff starts to sound more like that crying whine that dogs do when they want to remind you they're there and would you please put the book down because feeding time is in only fifteen minutes I mean how will you get ready in time??????? The question becomes, is this intentional? Laszlo is often described as a kind of nihilist. If that's true, this book is unintentionally funny. If, however, he has nihilistic leanings and is aware of that fact, is willing to make fun of those leanings, and maybe suggest that there's more to life than those leanings, then he and his books immediately become more interesting. I'm feeling generous, so I'll take this line of interpretation. (two stars)Also, it's a lovely little object. The art slightly overwhelms the story, I thought, but the story is plainly minor stuff anyway. The production values are astonishing--if only New Directions put this much effort into their other books, I wouldn't have to pick pages of (e.g.) Gottfried Benn up off the floor every time there was a stiff breeze past my bookcases. (two stars).

  • Nate D
    2018-12-25 06:19

    Vehement canine variations, all driven to pure stark absolutes. Each entry in this slim volume was inspired by a collage by Max Neumann and is essentially a single winding sentence exploring a single claustrophobic concept of vengeance, restraint, or destruction. Krasnahorkai is better known as a novelist, but his precise prose serves well here as a kind of exacting poetry.

  • David Auerbach
    2019-01-11 08:13

    [For my own introduction to Krasznahorkai, see The Mythology of Laszlo Krasznahorkai.]Animalinside is a formal experiment for Hungarian author Krasznahorkai. Krasznahorkai wrote a text to accompany a drawing by Max Neumann, and Neumann drew over a dozen more in response, and Krasznahorkai wrote a short text for each one. There's an obvious unity to it all: the pictures all feature the (usually) black silhouette of some sort of feral animal poised to jump, and the texts are all about some sort of beast or beasts, usually written in the first person singular or plural. The beast is angry, but helpless. The beast rants about how he is beyond any constraint that can be put on him by thought or concept. He is unique and beyond comparison: "It is impossible to confuse me with anyone else." He is within you, caged in one picture, but he is struggling to break free. And so another of Krasznahorkai's conceptual contradictions emerges: the beast that is at once free beyond everything and yet trapped. Is the beast railing at the infinite itself, the inadequacy of the concept of the infinite, or the representation of the infinite (as in this picture)? I'm not sure. This tension is the same one that occurred in Krasznahorkai's earlier From the North by Hill, from the South by Lake, from the West by Roads, from the East by River, which contained a book by a mad Frenchman ranting against Cantor's mathematical conception of infinity. Perhaps the idea is that the conception traps us while simultaneously facing us with its inadequacy, and this is unbearable because, as with the ideas of mortality and immortality, neither side is a conceivable solution. Because the text is more rarefied and abstract than Kraznahorkai's other work, it seems to resemble Beckett at times. But Beckett never portrayed such a vicious antagonism. His personae always collapse into themselves. Even their assertions of antagonism are hopeful but futile gestures against solipsistic nightmares. That is not the case in Krasznahorkai. I do not think it ever is. His characters and voices are always struggling within a larger cosmos of forces and others. I'm a great fan of Krasznahorkai's work. He may not be a god to me, but he's one of the best writers around. Animalinside may be pretty elusive to someone starting cold with Krasznahorkai; The Melancholy of Resistance, which was the basis of Bela Tarr's amazing film The Werckmeister Harmonies, offers a more grounded point of entry. But the book is gorgeous and short, and it makes itself strongly felt even as it remains oblique.

  • JK
    2019-01-02 08:31

    It is books like these that make me wish I had a power over words. If I could only convey to you, you who are reading this, what beauty and terror is contained within these scant pages I would know such joy that I have never known. But I can't. I can't even convince you that while reading of this beauty and terror, you are reading about yourself. Yourself and everyone. Ah. It's a damn shame. If there was one book I could convince any of you to read, it would be this one. If I could sway you the way so many reviews on this site have me, I would. I would. I wish I could.

  • Proustitute
    2018-12-29 12:05

    Yet another beautiful Cahier in the series by Sylph Editions.������Max Neumann is well known for his often eerie portraits that echo psychological states; L��szl�_ Krasznahorkai is well known for his eerie, maddening, and Kafkaesque prose that delves into individuals��� relations to power structures and each other. Responding first to an image of Neumann���s depicting a terrifying yet incomprehensible animal, Krasznahorkai set the chain of collaboration that would become Animalinside into motion; Neumann���s resulting images���from the first textual response���are increasingly more horrifying, and Krasznahorkai���s prose follows this animal���s story in his typical long sentences with repetitive rhythms and compact rhetorical ways of rendering diction, e.g., ���I extendextendextend around the Earth at the Equator��� and ������so so sooo big that I extend across two galaxies, if I want and soooo so big that extend across one hundred galaxies.���Animalinside is about annihilation and apocalypse, but it is more harrowing than that: in identifying our fears and anxieties about power, Krasznahorkai shows that those in positions of power harbor the same kinds of misgivings that we do. In a sense, power entraps us in a very Foucauldian way, and to speak about power���to paraphrase Foucault���is only something that can be done from inside existing power structures. Krasznahorkai���s animal is inside us (���I, that thing that looks so ghastly, is within you, because I am within you���); at the same time, the animal appears to exhibit traits of alienation and isolation that characterize Krasznahorkai���s characters in other work. The impact of this here is to suggest that while we criticize power structures which cage us (���this space-cage... a cage made to my measurements���), preventing us from realizing our individuality, we are, oddly enough, complicit in our victimization within this totalizing hierarchy. ������Krasznahorkai���s instruments of power are panoptic:and that���s how life ends for you, because it is impossible to hide away from us, there is no depth within the earth that could be a refuge for you, we are here, above, here, look we���re watching from up here what you���re doing down there, but we don���t have to watch everything, because we know everything about you... I am inscrutable and indivisible and impenetrable...������And the end, as Krasznahorkai sees it here, is hardly something that can be prepared for or reckoned with because all of our cultural myths���and, too, the many ways in which we externalize power/knowledge systems, again to bring Foucault to mind���fail to consider that the true apocalypse does not come from outside, but from within:every aspiration to the infinite is a trap... and don���t count on me emerging from below the earth, and it is not from the mountains or from the heavens that I shall arrive, every picture drawn in anxiety, ever word written down in horror, every voice sounded in anguish with which you try to prophesize me is senseless, for there is no need of prophecy, there is no need for you to evoke me before I arrive, it will be enough to see me then...A true revolt, then, is impossible, and Krasznahorkai���s pessimism is obviously on display here, but there is also an overriding sense of sympathy for this animal despite his malevolence and his destructive intent: ���if I jump up to sink my teeth into your throat, I hump into the trap definitively and inevitably, there is no point in speaking of escape. Into your throat.���������Called ���the Hungarian master of the apocalypse��� by Susan Sontag, Animalinside shows Krasznahorkai grappling with similar questions that his longer fictions consider; alongside Neumann���s images���often reminiscent of Munch���s Scream (���but what I hate most is how I���m howling here into the infinite���)���the paralyzing fear as we observe our own systemic collapse is made all the more uncanny, absurd, and downright chilling.

  • Jasmine
    2019-01-03 10:14

    this is a very well done book. It seems like a bit of a language game. It's like he's walking around the phrase the animal inside and describing what it looks like from all angles, like an artist walking around a chair and redrawing it from various angles. It even at times looks almost the same just like from some perspectives a chair will look almost the same even though you're in a completely different place. what does it mean, is it a metaphor, is it literal, is it biblical. this was a good idea.

  • Carolyn
    2019-01-14 11:21

    A precise and desperate book which, after having plunged myself into a certain neurotism, somehow permitted an escape unharmed. Festering with unease, I asked myself many questions about the indexes of civilization within the forty-odd pages of this novella. I am still fearful of the world as it is hued by Krasznahorkai. There are still many queries left unanswered.

  • Lily S.
    2019-01-03 06:05

    The hypnotic texts lull the reader into a state regression bringing out the most introceptive part of the self in a feeling of timelessness.

  • Amy
    2019-01-12 09:09

    Sure, you could probably read the text of this on a Kindle or Nook. But you'd be missing everything, and I don't just mean the Neumann images. This book actually smells good! It feels good. It's a tactile experience that engages your eyes and other senses, while your brain tries to solve the mystery of who is the Animalinside.First off, this is a novella that started with a Neumann painting that inspired Krasznahorai's text about a creature that defies easy description. After that, Neumann provided more images with the same dog-like beast, to inspire further chapters from the Hungarian author. Prefaced by Colm Toibin, who states that the author "stands closer to Kafka than to Beckett, but he is close to neither in his interest and delight in verbal pyrotechnics, in allowing the sheer energy of his long exciting sentences full sway."The monster of the story, if indeed that is what it is, is trapped in a place where he is excluded and in pain. "...I don't even exist, I only howl, and howling is not identical with existence, on the contrary howling is despair, the horror of that instance of awakening when the condemned--myself--comes to realize that he has been excluded from existence and there is no way back..."The words of the beast, shown in the images as a sort of fierce two-legged dog, are almost always horrifying...caged, it waits for release to wreak havoc and battle for kingship over a wasteland of earth. At lighter moments, though, it speaks almost in a panic over the search for its food dish, but the threats he makes about its loss are nothing adorable.Much of the imagery and words confuse me...I sense that a deeper measure of the meaning involves the ugly results of binding the voices of small, defenseless peoples until their defense is their only option. Their obsession. And about that, "smells good" remark? New Directions designed this as part of their Cahiers series, #14, and it's designed in a seven step printing process that makes for thick, waxy pages, with layers of thick inks and contrasting textures. Maybe it's all the chemicals involved, but it smells and feels amazing. Heirloom-quality, if that's possible for a novella.

  • Sprout
    2019-01-20 09:32

    "He wants to break free, attempts to stretch open the walls, but he has been tautened there by them, and there he remains in this tautening, in this constraint, and there is nothing else to do but howl, and now and forever he shall be nothing but his own tautening and his own howling, everything he was is no more, everything that could shall never be, so that for him there is not even anything that is. They have placed him inside this moment, but in doing so have excluded him from the moment previous, as well as the one to follow, so that he howls with one howl, expelled from time, trapped in one space ill-matched to his proportions, because the problem is the space, he has nothing in common with this space, in the entire God-given world he has nothing in common with this structure, with these perspectives, these perspectives are not made for him to exist in them, so that he doesn't even exist, he only howls, and this howling is not identical with existence, on the contrary howling is despair, the unspeakable horror of that instance of awakening with the condemned comes to realize that he has been excluded from existence, and there is no way back, if there ever even was a way here, he has been caught in a trap, there is no escape, and everything hurts, that one thing still belonging to him hurts, the fact that he ended up here, in this space ill-matched to his proportions, and he howls, he howls I want to break out, I want to stretch open the walls, but they have tautened me here, and here I remain in this tautening, in this constraint, and there is nothing else for me to do but howl, and now and forever I shall be nothing but my own tautening and my own howling, everything that there was for me has become nothing, everything that could ever be for me is naught, so that for me there is nothing that even is."

  • Chuck LoPresti
    2019-01-07 12:18

    I almost wish I hadn't read Melancholy of Resistance and War and War before this - because I want more of that. The thingitself is great - awesome printing, yes it smells cool, yes it looks awesome but I'm left wanting Satantango to arrive in English so I can get back to the longer form Krasznahorkai that I enjoyed so much more than this. Readers who are experiencing him for the first time through this work should certainly read his other available works to really get the level of mastery this writer achieves. I'll admit that when I visualize Krasznahorkai it's certainly through the images presented by Bela Tarr and even James Ensor who's Entry of Christ was used in part on the US cover of Melancholy of Resistance. Neumann's work has never greatly appealed to me and it leaves me a bit old here as well. It's obvious that Krasznahorkai doesn't share my indifference and that's really all that matters. It's a nice thing to own and as previously mentioned - it's a perfect example of why many book lovers shouldn't rush to get an e-reader and abandon paper. If my house burns down - I'd certainly replace Melancholy of Resistance and War and War before this.

  • Emily
    2018-12-27 08:21

    The object: utterly amazing. You will caress the pages, I promise.The text: biblical. visceral. cyclical. lyrical. terrifying. voice of god. voice of man. like gertrude stein. like samuel beckett. like the psalms. like the book of revelation. so much in so little space. it feels like a life in less than 40 pages. a full life.

  • Christian Kiefer
    2018-12-27 10:25

    I love Krasznahorkai for his darkly experimental approach to language but this one was just so-so. Max Neumann's images are interesting but the combination of image and text could have done much more than it actually did.

  • Dustin Kurtz
    2019-01-12 10:22

    One of the most terrifying books I've ever read.

  • Edward Rathke
    2019-01-08 13:14

    I found this to be mostly just bad, and an incredibly uninspired way to respond to artwork with text.I've written a few books in this manner. Where the artist creates an image and the writer writes texts as response, and on and on. I think Krasznahorkai falls into a trap of being constrained by the image, and so each text is very insular and stagnant. I even found his long sentences incredibly stagnant, which seems like a terrible use of extending sentences past their breaking points.What I've always loved about the use of very long sentences is the fluidity that they give a text. Their flexible nature. How the beginning of a sentence can be miles from where you end. But Krasznahorkai keeps circling back, which would maybe be interesting, if there was movement between beginning and end. It's like watching someone drown in a puddle, their arms flailing, their legs kicking, showing an impressive amount of struggle and determination, but somehow still drowning.This is my first Krasznahorkai, and I'm pretty severely disappointed. I've heard so much about him for so long that I was expecting something at least interesting. I'm still willing to give him another shot, but, man, this thing is just bad.

  • Jayden gonzalez
    2019-01-15 06:24

    this book is on my wall now.

  • Ben
    2019-01-12 12:31

    I am the one who shall break out. It is impossible to confuse me with anyone else, every such fear which does not refer to me is mistaken and superfluous, because you will recognize me then, when the time has come, it won't be possible to think, maybe that's him, because at that point when I come, there will be no uncertainty at all, there will be no ifs and there will be no maybes, you will know for certain that it's him, that is to say me, because it's not some monster with arms and legs or some monster with no arms or legs that you must await, because I will not step forth from the darkness, not suddenly from some illumination, and don't count on me emerging from below the earth, and it is not from the mountains or from the heavens that I shall arrive, every picture drawn in anxiety, every word written down in horror, every voice sounded in anguish with which you try to prophesize me is senseless, for there is no need of prophecy, there is no need for you to evoke me before I arrive, it will be enough to see me then, when I'll be here already, because I will come, and I will be here, and then there won't be any time for thinking, and all preliminary conjectures about who I am will prove in retrospect futile, so that what this means, I say again and again, is don't try to speculate in advance about who I will be, you'll know later on when I already am, when I shall spring forth before you from the unexpected, from the unforeseen, because it will be unexpected and unforeseen, that is why your expectations are useless, because you're all thinking it will suddenly come later, it will unexpectedly strike later, and that later, that hope that there still be time between me and yourselves is complete idiocy, because in reality I will be there so quickly that it will be impossible at all to measure it, the stopwatch with which you could measure the quickness of this quickness does not exist, because before me there is no past, after me there will be no need of the future, because there will be no future, because my existence is not measured by time, because that which exists in one moment still has not come; in the next moment, however, it is already there, the timeless - this I am, this I will be, who at once will just be there, right in front of you, and certain, right in front of you, yes, there I shall be at once from nothing, I shall rear up and tear apart your face and then what good will all your expectations spent in horror, in anguish, in dread turn out to be, the simplest thing is to give yourselves over to fate, for it is enough for you to know I'm coming, that that day is coming, that hour is coming, that minute and that moment is coming, when one day i tjust won't go on any more, you raise your head from today's newspaper, or you just happen to look up, and there I am in front of you, and then there shall be no doubts at all as to whether I am he who has come, because yes I am the one who shall break out of here, and there I will be, and then it will be impossible to confuse me with anyone else.

  • Rufo Quintavalle
    2019-01-05 10:07

    A collaboration between Hungarian author, Laszlo Krasznahorkai and German artist, Max Neumann, this is the latest installment in the beautiful Cahiers Series. The goal of this series is to explore new directions in writing and translation and this book certainly provides plenty of food for thought for those interested in this field - Neumann's original painting inspired a prose response by Krasznahorkai which in turn inspired a series of paintings by Neumann which Krasznahorkai then wrote further prose responses to. So painting begets prose which begets painting which begets prose. To further complicate things the work is presented in an English translation by Ottilie Mulzet who used both the words and images in preparing her version. So I make that four different acts of translation and three different modes of translation (visual art into words, words into visual art and art plus words into a foreign language). While this project is certainly theoretically dense I felt that Krasznahorkai's prose was at times a little too predictable. So in section III he has the dog/beast who narrates the work describe how big he is:"I extend diagonally around the Earth in every direction, I hang down from it, I extend around it so so much that I extend around it twice, I extend around it three times, I extend around it one hundred times, one thousand times, one million times, so that I extend around your Earth a billion billion times, then I extend all the way from the Earth to the Moon, so so big am I that I cannot even fit into the Milky Way, so so sooo big that I extend across two galaxies, if I want, and sooo so big that I extend across one hundred galaxies, so that I extend across every galaxy, and sooo sooo big ..."And so on. Perhaps this sounds marvelous in Hungarian but in English it just sounds repetitive and predictably so (yes the dog goes on to extend around the entire universe and then outwards towards infinity). By all accounts Krasznahorkai's other works are imaginatively rich so I wonder if the very act of creating in response to paintings made for a certain restriction of his creativity? Did he feel compelled to stick too closely to the images and did those images - with their themes of blindness, frustrated movement and imprisonment - produce a reciprocal stasis in Kraznahorkai's writing? Or does the mere fact of knowing that your writing will be published in conjunction with visual art allow you to strip out the visual imagery from your text? Would a richer, more imaginatively complex style of writing have detracted from the images?This writing on its own would probably get three stars at best but I'll give the work as a whole four - it's a beautiful object (thick cream paper, classy fonts and the reproductions are gorgeous) and it certainly got me thinking about the role of translation/collaboration.

  • George
    2019-01-09 07:33

    Where are you, my little master...Laszlo Krasznahorkai's writing hypnotizes me every time. If you've read anything by him, you know what I mean-- the manic stream of anxious consciousness pulls you in like a black hole and there is no escape, no grammatical relief as the sentences swirl on and on from line to line, zig-zagging across the page like lacerations bleeding letters and you can't wipe it away, can't for a moment even think of wiping it away because the wound of the sentence is still open, still gushing words with each moment and before you know it the entire page is nothing but a smear of ink and there is nothing left, nothing left to save and all you can do is turn the page but even then, you know, there will only be more, ever always more, and so much more, and there is nothing you can do and there is no where for you to turn except the next page.Oh my little master, please, won't you give me my food dish?However, unlike with his novels where you can just keep reading on and on and sink ever deeper into the pit of awareness, this book is better read in short bursts. Read a passage a day. Savor it.When I find you... my little master....

  • Danny Daley
    2019-01-15 07:18

    This is a short, beautiful, and fascinating book. I'd read one of Krasznahorkai's novels, and enjoyed it. The concept of this book grabbed my attention immediately - artist Max Neuman made a drawing, to which Krasznahorkai wrote a prose poem, to which Neuman made thirteen more drawings, to which Krasznahorkai wrote thirteen more prose poems - and now we have this fascinating work. The theme - the animal inside us all - is fleshed out with dark vitality and apocalyptic beauty, each piece features some truly haunting lines and each draws the reader into introspection, really, in an effort to see where the truth lies within. I enjoyed this book a great deal and I know I'll re-read it soon enough.

  • Dario Malic
    2019-01-11 07:27

    Ovaj kratki Krasznahorkaiev tekst popraćen Neumannovim ilustracijama je svojevrsni manifest našeg skrivenog, primordijalnog "ja". Ono želi izaći iz kaveza kulture i civilizacije, upozorava nas da je tu, (od)uvijek prisutno, da mu ne možemo uteći, i prijeti nam da će uništiti sve što znamo pa i nas same kad se uspije osloboditi. Krasznahorkai postavlja pred nas zrcalo u kojem se ogledava naša prošlost (sadašnjost?), na taj način nam skrećući pozornost na opasnost koju kao ljudi predstavljamo za sebe i druge. Neumannove ilustracije mi na prvo čitanje (i gledanje) nisu obogatile doživljaj djela, ali zasigurno ću se vraćati ovoj knjižici i dati im još koju priliku da progovore.

  • Denzil
    2019-01-17 10:20

    More a pamphlet than a book but a very beautiful thing (until you spill coffee on it, never mind). Very well reproduced prints of paintings by max neuman with a short pieces from krasznahorkai inspired by the artwork. This works extremely well, the writing is him at his darkest and most apocalyptic but as always there is a strain of humour and mischief which runs through the whole work. Some of the pieces are just mesmerising.

  • Tom
    2018-12-22 05:15

    Using a series of paintings by Max Neumann as his starting point, Krasznahorkai gives us vignettes on the destructive power of fear. The New Directions version of Neumann's paintings is better than the Cahiers version, if that matters to you. (With the ND version, I could smell the inks used, which are piled on thick enough to give the pictures textures.)

  • Chris
    2018-12-29 11:10

    An erudite preface by Colm Tòibín offers a good introduction to Krasznahorkai. The fourteen vignettes that follow are menacing, humorous, thought provoking studies on the "animal" inside.This collaboration between writer and illustrator (Max Neumann) reminded me of the book, "Sun, Moon, Star" by Kurt Vonnegut and Ivan Chermayeff.

  • Andrew
    2018-12-26 11:13

    I miss my dog.

  • Pete
    2019-01-18 08:15

    A beautiful folio.

  • Sophia
    2018-12-31 13:04

    The animal is inside you, and it wants to come out and play