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Melancolía de la resistencia

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,141 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
Tragicómica y melancólica, esta novela nos presenta un mundo plúmbeo y totalitario, dominado por fuerzas ciegas e impersonales. Un escenario humano desolador en el que la inteligencia es anulada por la fuerza bruta y la violencia, y en el que el caos arrastra irremediablemente a unos personajes que, entre el conformismo y la insignificancia, no aciertan a crear un orden nu ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published November 28th 2001 by El Acantilado (first published 1989)
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László Krasznahorkai, I am nervous. Isn't that ridiculous? I'm actually nervous about writing a review for your novel The Melancholy of Resistance because I just finished scanning through the (few) other reviews on this site and saw that they were mostly perfunctory in their praise, somewhat soulless and academic, and insufficiently rapturous.

This is an amazing book! Don't they understand that? When you've heard the word of god (and here it is), you just don't dither around with propriety or th
Dec 05, 2013 brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2001. Anthology Film Archives. (one of the great places on the planet: i swear that when one studies taken-from-space photographs a faint heavenly light emanates from manhattan -- if one were to push further in, she'd see that most of it originates from the southeast corner of 2nd ave & 2nd st) a hungarian film the smart people at the newyorkpress raved about. i bought a ticket and dropped into one of those dreadful foldable chairs, fought off the stink of mold and time, and looked back to s ...more
Mar 23, 2012 s.penkevich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who question
Shelves: cold-and-dark, europe
I read The Melancholy of Resistance back in early October and it still haunts me months later. Krasznahorkai creates a dark allegorical novel that is saturated with dread and overflowing with malice as he depicts a city overrun by strange happenings and menacing mobs of strangers during the icy winter. Even if you were to read this on a warms summers day, he would make you feel as if the world outside your window was frozen over and treacherous. This novel deserves a more wide-spread critical ac ...more
Jul 02, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This not your laid back summer beach read. Don’t even think of attempting this on a train, a plane, a park, a doctor’s office or anywhere where you won’t be able to focus completely and fall face first into this absurd Hungarian nightmare.

With about three paragraphs in the entire 300 pages, and just a smattering of sentences (I’m exaggerating, but not by much), Melancholy seemed to gush out of Krasznahorkai like a drunken folklore told over a campfire in the darkest pit of a forest.

The first sev
I was really enjoying this. The prose is a little dense, and there's no question that the author has a penchant for abstraction, as seen in the musings of the musicologist; but there is also wry humor and elegant surrealism, deftly handled. The opening sequence of the elderly Mrs. Plauf going into hysterics on the train is hilarious. As we move from character (Mrs Eszter) to character (Valushka), the story deepens. We see, or feel we do, their every ratiocination. I don't want to give away the f ...more
Stephen P
May 23, 2014 Stephen P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I open the covers and am on a train. Noisy and disordered, Mrs. Plauf, a conventional middle class woman returning from her yearly sojourn to visit her disabled and housebound sisters, sits among peasants. The order of the country has been disrupted and trains no longer run on schedule. The class system is blurred and separation of class distinction disintegrating.. She thinks only of returning to her apartment and all the objects within providing her comfort.

They are all there and she relaxes
Dec 26, 2013 Mariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: M is for Melancholy. R is for resistance
Recommended to Mariel by: David, brian and Nate
David and brian's reviews. Now no one is reading this so it doesn’t matter that I’m tongued-tied and confused how to express my feelings on The Melancholy of Resistance. (I can will myself to do anything if I tell myself that nothing I do matters. It feels like freedom. Everything I say is bullshit anyway.)
I’ve been doodling whales and stars for days and days. It’s difficult to ever translate those images to outside of me. Hold on, I meant to say that ‘Melancholy’ was translated from the Hungari
Jan 22, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are better reviews than this one to read about this book. Here is one. And another. And a third one. (For those who don't know if they want to click, those link to David's, Brian's and Mariel's reviews).

I had very strong feelings of fondness but not love for this book. It would have been a four and a half star book, but it never had that unquantifiable something that pushes a book past the really really like category and into the love category. Maybe I'm just being a superficial bastard
Feb 23, 2012 knig rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Melancholy of Resistance is, George Szirtes says, ‘a slow lava flow of narrative, a vast black river of type’. And because I adore Szirtes, the poet, I chose to imbue his summation with promises of a linguistic operetta of multifactorial continuo. Alas, he too must earn his daily bread, (being the novel’s translator) and so it transpires, at the end of this epic polity, that he meant what he said entirely literally: a statement of fact rather than a literary endorsement.

A vast black river of
Một thành phố nhỏ tầm thường xoàng xĩnh ở Hungari đột nhiên bị náo động bởi sự xuất hiện của một đoàn xiếc kỳ lạ mang theo “một kỳ quan độc nhất vô nhị”: con cá voi to nhất người ta từng thấy nằm trên cái bệ khổng lồ. Và rồi biến cố tưởng như vô thưởng vô phạt này rốt cuộc lại kéo theo một loạt biến cố càng lúc càng bất ngờ, phi thực và bạo liệt, dẫn đến sự nổi loạn toàn diện của cư dân thành phố, mà động lực là âm mưu thâm hiểm của một người đàn bà vốn dĩ bình thường nay chợt nảy ra tham vọng m ...more
There are moments of astounding beauty in this book. My personal favourite is when Valuska,the book's holy fool, demonstrates the motion of the planets around the sun in the kind of bar only found only in Hungarian and Slav lit, 'the penny Riesling in their scratch-marked glasses...'. Dark bars they are, where tables rock on their uneven legs and pickling spices permeate the walls. I think I read this stuff for those bars.
Valuska demonstrates the motion of the planets with his fellow drinkers,
Nate D
Nov 30, 2010 Nate D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: stargazers and whalewatchers caught up in the whims of power-hunger
Recommended to Nate D by: Bela Tarr
So who knew that Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies was an adaptation?

This dense, winding novel seemingly condenses much of the tumultuous experience of 20th century Hungary into a few days of carefully cryptic allegory that is stronger and more universal for its lack of easy 1:1 correspondences between its reality and the greater one. The novel was adapted for screen by Tarr with the author and its long sentences and lack of paragraph breaks are reflected in the film's long, seamless takes (of
Eddie Watkins
Oct 09, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Luckily I found this book in a local bookstore the day after I saw Bela Tarr's film Werckmeister Harmonies. The author and Tarr have a very close relationship and have collaborated on adapting Krazhnahorkai's novels into films, but I think this is the only novel that has been translated into English.

As with other books, I read this so feverishly (and it begs to be read feverishly as the whole book is one long paragraph, and some sentences go on for pages) that I can't give any kind of detached d
Tanuj Solanki
Awake beneath the pestilential mango
worth-a-dime sobs:
roil of dried pollen, devil’s conspicuousness
in the kitchen garden that led to leftovers.

You have a chameleon close to your ear
a killer tongue about to tingle
roughly and remind of recent pasts.
In the movement of the earth
gentle winds:
trigonometric cityscapes, crystal balls.

Like T’s absent rhymes. . .
History has shown that sometimes one simple act can turn a city upside down and fuel a chain of events which leaves the populace aching to “figure it out” meanwhile trying to stick to their norms. Laszlo Krasznahorkai explores this idea in his novel, “The Melancholy of Resistance” translated from Hungarian into English by the gifted translator, George Szirtes.

“The Melancholy of Resistance” follows the fear of change and the unknown following the arrival of a circus into a Hungarian town. The re
Nov 19, 2012 RK-ique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
There are over 50 reviews of this book on goodreads so I won't sum up the story in any way. Just some comments.

The book is about destruction and decay; disharmony and disorder. It is also about, in a twisted, sad way, harmony and rebirth. Each character wins or loses according to their own take on the world; their own resilience and abilities, both intellectually and morally. (Moral ability?) Of the main characters, Mrs. Eszter, the true Leviathan of the story, through her Machiavellian maneuve
Jul 13, 2012 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
okay so i just now finished this one, and i gotta say that last 3 pg run of decomposition, from biochemical to philosophical was just astounding. the last time i viscerally reacted to an ending like that was fowles 'the collector'. of course the book is kind of like trying to speed walk through the ocean, but i set a healthy 10-20 pgs at a time pace for myself so i didn't feel like i was trying to chew peanut butter for hours on end.

these characters are amazing for their universality is central
Jim Elkins
Mar 22, 2016 Jim Elkins rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hungarian
It's just not possible not to read a book that is endorsed by W.G. Sebald and Susan Sontag, and whose author -- and his amazing translator -- can write sentences like this:

"To be wise, however, soberly to anticipate what might lie in store, was truly no easy task, for it was as is some vital yet undetectable modification had taken place in the eternally stable composition of the air, in the very remoteness of that hitherto faultless mechanism or unnamed principle -- which, it is often remarked,
Dec 12, 2011 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*How I would love to give this book 4.5 stars, if only because it starts a little slow. Granted, the ending of the book echoes the beginning in a lovely way, and when I finished I felt wholly satisfied and frankly grateful to have stumbled upon Krasznahorkai, but starting with Mrs. Plauf didn't really gun the narrative engine - it felt to me like the novel proper didn't really start until Mrs. Eszter and Valuska entered the picture.*

A strange circus exhibiting a dead whale arrives in a smal
Sep 21, 2015 Jules rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was insane. There's already so many good reviews that I'm not sure what I can add besides this was one of the best books I've read this year, and I've gone through some pretty great ones. A book that starts off with the population of a town that's already given up on the things that govern society, and just keeps spiraling into a chaotic occurrence involving a circus and its followers. There are no heroes in this narrative, just people who try to cling to the few comforts they have in an ev ...more
It was said that modern Mayans rolled their eyes at the suggestion of Armageddon on 12/21/12. But in László Krasznahorkai's novel, nobody is rolling his eyes as something wicked comes the way of a Hungarian village. The seriousness of the situation is evident from the ambiance of fear and foreboding as Mrs. Plauf travels by train to her home. She can't shake off the feeling that an infinitesimal change in the landscape brought something amiss to the relative peace of the village. That constricti ...more
Ben Winch
I hate to say it, but this has become one of those books that depresses me whenever I see it. For months I kept it by my bed, a constant reminder that I’d stopped after two chapters and should get back to it. (Chapter Two: thirty pages of skewering petit bourgeois values – like shooting fish in a barrel.) Then I started it over again and got halfway through before putting it aside. For more months, it lived on my desk, bookmark in place. But I’ve conceded defeat and put it on the shelf, bookmark ...more
Neil Griffin
Sep 09, 2011 Neil Griffin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book felt very similar to many novels I've read, but there was still something intangibly different. As you've already read if you've seen any reviews, he has a similar flow to authors like Bernhard, Marias, and other purveyors of long sentences, but I felt something distinctively strange about this book. He's fascinated by humans surely, and does a good job surveying the rabble that constitutes the majority of folk, but his interests also lie in the fact that we are floating around in a co ...more
"This" "Author" "Loves" "To" "Put" "Things" "In" "Quotes"...I am not sure the point of this, but it can get kind of "annoying"..."See" "what" "I" "mean".....As far as the story goes, pretty good so far, though I do not know what's going on really...I hope it will reveal itself to me...As far as I know, some old woman was being chased on a train and harassed by an unshaven man in an overcoat..(this was a pretty interesting scenario and well described)...then she is at her apartment and some frien ...more
Edit 4/19. I've spent a lot of damn time thinking about this book, and now that I've been to Hungary, my understanding of this work has changed. I thought the removed tone Krasznahorkai employs was just heightening the ominous feeling. Now I can say with certainty that I believe this book accurately describes the overall attitude of the Hungarian people: bleak and miserable. fact, the more time I spend here, the more I'm convinced that the events described within aren't relegated to the realm of ...more
Sep 28, 2015 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I encounter writers who have such a mas-ter-ful command of language, it makes me tremendously utterly unabashedly depressed dejected disheartened because I wish I could write half as well as they do and it makes me feel like a mediocre hack but I just had to settle for reading this book ( . . . which is the next best thing I suppose!), an experience akin to wading through quicksand or possibly sinking into a warm sea of words on the back of a whale - a whale, awhale, a w h a l e - "They kee ...more
On the heels of Lszl_ Krasznahorkais victory this year for winning the Best Translated Book Award (BTBA) two years in a row, ever astute critic Scott Esposito has assembled a crash course in all things Krasznahorkai. The gist is that one can begin with Krasznahorkai anywhere, and, while I do agree with this, I also believe that my own journey through the work of the great Hungarian master of apocalypseto use Susan Sontags remarks on his work, and The Melancholy of Resistance in particularhas pro ...more
A complete attack on the senses of the reader. You can't talk about Krasznahorkai and not talk about the Bernhard-ish refusal to parse and section. Instead, the reader is led from one idea to another, back and forth in time, through the eyes of multiple people. But you can't stop reading. You are entirely within Kraszahorkai's universe.

And there's a blue whale a scary mob and an extended discussion of music theory and this is what would have happened if Kafka had taken the most evil fucking spee
Jan 14, 2008 lisa_emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eastern Europhiles, collectors of weird novels
It starts with a long, nearly entangled sentence, then it runs from that. AT times when you think you will lose interest, it comes back with a uncanny scene, or a mental space you don't encounter often. I doubt one could ever learn about Hungary or about whales. The two main characters are an idiot and a cynic, and that can make for good conversations. I half-way liked it to really liking it, but it is a very heady book, a kind of book you might read to keep fluffy exclamists away.
Dec 26, 2011 Lawyer marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lawyer by: s.penkevich
Added to-read shelf based on review by s.penkevich.
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László Krasznahorkai is the difficult, peculiar, obsessive, visionary Hungarian author of eight novels.

He is probably best known through the oeuvre of the director Béla Tarr, who has collaborated with him on several movies. He is also the 2015 Man Booker International Prize Winner.

More about László Krasznahorkai...

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“Catastrophe! Of course! Last judgement! Horseshit! It's you that are the catastrophe, you're the bloody last judgement, your feet don't even touch the ground, you bunch of sleepwalkers. I wish you were dead, the lot of you. Let's make a bet,' and here he shook Nadaban by the shoulders, ‘that you don't even know what I'm talking about!! Because you don't talk, you "whisper" or "expostulate"; you don't walk down the street but "proceed feverishly"; you don't enter a place but "cross its threshold", you don't feel cold or hot, but "find yourselves shivering" or "feeling the sweat pour down you"! I haven't heard a straight word for hours, you can only mew and caterwaul; because if a hooligan throws a brick through your window you invoke the last judgement, because your brains are addled and filled up with steam, because if someone sticks your nose in shit all you do is sniff, stare and cry "sorcery!” 7 likes
“you have every cause for anxiety. we are on the threshold of a more searching, more honest, more open society. there are new times just around the corner” 5 likes
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