Greg's Reviews > War and War

War and War by László Krasznahorkai
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
42508
's review
Feb 11, 11

bookshelves: fiction, life-is-shit, new-directions
Read from February 08 to 10, 2011

Heaven is sad.

That begins, as a benediction of sorts, the book.

I feel like I'm too stupid to fully get Krasznahorkai (we'll call him K. for short from now on in the review, although that ill undoubtedly bring to mind an insurance agent from Prague..... but Kafka is almost appropriate to this novel, or at least his line in one of his Parables and Paradoxes, roughly remembered as, 'the messiah will return only when he is no longer needed'). I love parts of his books, and then I'm baffled and confused by other parts. My understanding of the text feels dreamlike, something is in my grasp and then it slips through it, the scenes change and I'm at a lose and even the thing I thought I was so close to understanding becomes ethereal and I start to doubt I ever understood anything.

I don't quite know what to write about this book. I'm not sure I completely get what K was going for. I'm not sure what the illumination of the post script last chapter is supposed to mean, especially coming after the 'punchline' to the whole novel. Without the last chapter the book is a comedy in the way that the other K writing is comedic (see DFW's essay in Consider the Lobster). With the post-punch-line twenty some odd pages the absurdity of the book shifts, and the novel becomes vaguely tragic. Or is it Beckett like? No. That doesn't work in this situation. I feel like the author / allusion is rattling around in my brain but I can't get the fucking thing to uncloud and reveal itself to me.

Someone I know should read this book, I have questions and no one really to discuss my questions with.

And has K written any books with normal structures? Melancholy of Resistance was long blocks of text. This book has almost as many chapters as a James Patterson novel, but each chapter is made up of just one sentence, one sentence that is anywhere from regular length run of the mill to four or five pages with shifting subjects and temporal settings. Unlike in my last review for a novel by K, I'm not complaining, I'm just feeling curious why he writes in this manner. What is he trying to achieve?

18 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read War and War.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by EZRead (new)

EZRead eBookstore No lie, I'm interested in reading this just because it's called "War and War".


message 2: by David (new)

David Dagnabbit. You got to this before me!

Curses on you, Gregory Stahl!


Greg David, did you see there is a limited edition book of his coming out this spring?

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/93...


message 4: by David (new)

David Yes, I have seen that! Can't wait... Also, New Directions has announced they will be publishing the English translation of Satantango... but not until 2012.


message 5: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine 'the messiah will return only when he is no longer needed'

I really like that.

and the DFW essay on kafka, it made me think I hadn't give kafka a fair shot.

nice review greg


Greg What Kafka did you try reading?


message 7: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine metamorphosis. I know I got assigned the trial and another one in college but I don't think I actually read them.


message 8: by karen (new)

karen you gotta read 'em to like 'em!


Greg that should be your slogan.


message 10: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine I know Karen I know I'm just not as patient as you when I don't like one its tough for me to read another.


message 11: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg You should a couple of different short stories, maybe "The Hunger Artist", or "In the Penal Colony". I'm a big fan of Kafka's bible stories, or reinterpretations (that's where the thing about the messiah I paraphrase in the review comes from).


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio karen wrote: "you gotta read 'em to like 'em!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn481K...


Janice This book made me feel like a real dum-dum.

Greg wrote: I love parts of his books, and then I'm baffled and confused by other parts. My understanding of the text feels dreamlike, something is in my grasp and then it slips through it, the scenes change and I'm at a lose and even the thing I thought I was so close to understanding becomes ethereal and I start to doubt I ever understood anything.

That pretty much articulates my frustrations with this book.


message 14: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg Was Satantango less frustrating? I just had to own that book as soon as it was released, but I haven't actually gotten around to reading it yet.


Janice Satantango was a walk in the park compared to this. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. It still haunts me to this day, and I read it when it came out.


back to top