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The Last Wolf / Herman

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  852 ratings  ·  122 reviews
The Last Wolf features a classic, obsessed Krasznahorkai narrator, a man hired to write (by mistake, by a glitch of fate) the true tale of the last wolf of Extremadura, a barren stretch of Spain. This miserable experience (being mistaken for another, dragged about a cold foreign place, appalled by a species’ end) is narrated— all in a single sentence—as a sad looping tale, ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by New Directions
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Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

There are some authors who surprise you every time you pick any of their works, with the same element of amazement as if it’s brewed anew, Laszlo Krasznahorkai is definitely one of the best examples of them. For, the magic he weaves around his outrageously long sentences (the word outrageous may be feeling incompetent here to convey the meaning since some of those sentences may run into more than a page), in fact sometimes for number of pages. However, no matter how many pages may go on without
At last, a Krasznahorkai work I really connect with. Reading Sátántangó a few days ago, I realised that strength of personal connection was what would make the difference between giving his books 4 stars (as I did Sátántangó and Seiobo There Below) or 5, because I can't seem to find them as utterly singular as many of his English-language worshippers do. (I'm still not sure what they see that I don't; or if I'm arrogant - I probably sound it, because he has been placed on a pedestal as the autho ...more
Lee Klein
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A small beautiful hardback stocking-stuffer received for Xmas per a not very long list of international literature in translation I sent to Santa Claus c/o my Mom. A great description of a pit filled with carrion. Creepy, atmospheric, flowing, makes me want to re-read The Hound of the Baskervilles for the first time in ~30 years -- these three stories interlink, or I should say that 'The Last Wolf" seems to inexplicitly interlink with the two "Herman" stories that explicitly interlink. Trapping, ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translation, fiction
"the love of animals is the one true love in which one is never disappointed"
imagine if lászló krasznahorkai wrote a single novella-length sentence about a failed, depressed philosophy professor who spends one morning in a german bar recounting the story, to one demonstrably uninterested barkeep, of his trip to spain, the result of an invitation to write a "new chapter" about the extremadura region, which, instead, turns into a compulsion to track down and discover the facts behind the death
Ronald Morton
A small book, containing three excellent short stories. Its brevity - and that it feels more like a sampler for ND's upcoming translation of Relations of Grace (which contains at least one of these stories: Herman) - is the main reason I only gave it four stars. This is top-notch Krasznahorkai, in a handsome little (it's quite undersized) hardcover. I just wish there was more is all; it's pricey for the little you get.
Paul Fulcher
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Wolf & Herman combines into one English book two linked stories, Herman, A vador, and A mesterségnek vége (Herman - The Game Warden and The Death of a Craft), taken from the 1986 story collection Kegyelmi viszonyok (Relations of Grace) and translated by John Batki, and the story "Az utolsó farkas" (The Last Wolf) from 2009 and translated by George Szirtes. [The dust jacket describes them as novellas, but that is generous when the whole book amounts to only 120 well spaced out pages]

Richard Newton
From the two books I have read of his, Krasznahorkai is a rather frustrating writer. At his best he is very good - an original and unusual voice, original writing style, unusual topics and great insights. At his worst I have found it rather poor ramblings. This book exhibits both.

The book is made up of three novellas, although the last two are closely related as they recount the same story from different perspectives - very different perspectives. The first novella, The Last Wolf, is rather good
Jeff Jackson
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Two excellent novellas about hunting, vanishing crafts, shifting ethics, and species extinction linked by haunting thematic echoes. "The Last Wolf," a single sentence account of a trip to the Spanish hinterlands that's surprisingly addictive, is especially impressive. I'd wager this slim volume is a good introduction to Krasznahorkai. Beautifully designed, too.
4.5 stars
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Laszlo Krasznahotkai is an artist. The book provoked me, made me uncomfortable at times, made me laugh at others, but most rewardingly, added ways of thinking. He accomplishes this through unusual characters and, in The Last Wolf, his technique.
The book in English is a cool presentation in that the first two stories, Herman, and The Death of a Craft, conclude and then you flip the book over and read The Wolf. The first two stories feature a game warden eradicating "noxious beasts" from a small
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
László Krasznahorkai's The Last Wolf / Herman is a collection of stories around the relationship of humans with a disappearing nature. In "The Last Wolf," we have a 78-page story consisting of a single sentence of a man who travels to Estremadura, Spain, to write on a local topic of his own choosing. He chooses to write about the shooting of the last wolf in the province, but finds it is by no means easy to get to the bottom of the story.

"Herman" consists of two substories around the main theme
Jim Elkins
Nov 22, 2016 added it
Shelves: hungarian
A Story Diminished by Lack of Ambition, Energy, or Commitment

"The Last Wolf" is a novella, 76 pages in translation, written in what is usually described as one of Krasznahorkai's characteristic long sentences. Technically, that isn't right, because the novella is actually a string of run-on sentences, with ordinary sentences embedded in them. Grammatically correct long sentences are rare in fiction. (See the remarks on Enard's "The Zone.") This form is looser and, I think, less interesting than
Chuck LoPresti
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Last Wolf is a single 78 page sentence. It's man vs self vs animal. This is K. working out his human-less void in shorter form. His "style" is unique but easy and purely intuitive. It's visceral and direct but also unhinged and never mechanical. Although less complex than longer format works like The's no less important. I do think this is the best contemporary writer going.

Herman - K. approaches Jakov Lind like insanity with great clarity. Machines, man and animals are juxta
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
man reaches in the dark for god, finds an animal instead
Edward Rathke
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love long sentences so part of me was primed to love this kind of thing. Both novellas are pretty different, offering very different experiences, but also working together in an interesting way.

But, yeah, really more for those interested in style. The Last Wolf is a 70 page sentence, which is full of self-loathing and digressions, and an interesting story about a man who hunted wolves. Herman is a bit stranger and darker, about a man inflicting random violence upon a small town.

Good stuff. I
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could choose just a single line to give as an example of how totally immersive this story is, but if I tried then I'd end up just retyping the whole thing. 'The Last Wolf' is completely absorbing, almost addictive; and one of the most unique reading experiences I've ever had. By the end of it I felt as if something about my way of thinking had just inexplicably changed in order to suit the peculiarity of it and allow me to get so drawn in. I honestly can't wait to read more by Krasznaho ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
While I found this work to be interesting it didn't resonate with me as much as the author's novels. I think Krasznahorkai's style doesn't as easily lend itself to shorter forms such as the novella and short story. But it was enjoyable, nevertheless.
Kobe Bryant
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice writing exercise
Brittany Picardi Ruiz
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
So far, I have found Krasznahorkai’s work I've read to be fascinating, though not necessarily enjoyable. The Last Wolf & Herman are no exceptions to this, despite being quite short. Make no mistake, though the New Directions edition is over a hundred pages, that's thanks to small pages and wide margins, so in truth there are perhaps only about fifty regular pages-worth of content here. Of those fifty pages, more than half are taken up by The Last Wolf, a story that consists of a single sentence, ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This small book consists of three short stories. Two of them are alternative accounts of the story of Herman, a gamekeeper beset with guilt over the number of animals that he has killed, and the extreme actions he takes as a result. The first of them. "The Game Warden", is quite good, but the second, "The Death of a Craft", is pretty silly and poorly resolved.

The main story is "The Last Wolf", wherein a minor academic regales a bored and testy Hungarian barman with a long and convoluted tale abo
A strange triptych of novellas. One about an obscure academic investigating the demise of the last wolf of the Spanish region of Extremadura; one about a game warden who experiences an existential crisis and starts using his traps to hurt people rather than animals; one about a group of decadent thrillseekers who happen to find themselves in the same town where the game warden is setting up his traps, and, in between orgies, decide to help the locals fight off this strange threat. The first nove ...more
Conor Ahern
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The fuck was this, even? It is cased in the tiniest and most elegant cover, overlaid with minimalist design, featuring generous margins but still packing quite the punch. It felt like it was seething at all times, eldritch, panting, manic.

A quick read, I may have to go back and try to better understand what was happening here.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is actually the first book I've read by Krasznahorkai, and it certainly won't be the last. 70 page sentences might be challenging but they're well worth the effort. One of the masters of world literature.
Justin Evans
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Excellent stuff: Herman is a memorable narrative, The Last Wolf is a memorable sentence. Can't ask for much more, especially with the cute design.
Andy Weston
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
It was the first of these stories that appealed to me and made me seek the book out, and yet it was the other two that I appreciated most.
In The Last Wolf a Hungarian bartender in Berlin hears a story from an old philosopher and on the spur of the moment travels to Extremadura where he is led to believe, the last wolf perished in 1983. On arrival though, he soon realises that the story he heard didn’t travel well, and there’s far more to it. It’s a strange but compelling story of displacement
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Last Wolf" is a single-sentence story and your mileage on that one will vary depending on... well, how you feel about single-sentence stories. For me, they're often intriguing but they will ultimately send my mind wandering elsewhere while reading (that sort of stream of consciousness thing will do that; too close to my own neural pathways, I suppose). That's basically how I felt about "The Last Wolf" although I appreciated the Aira-esque qualities of that particular tale.

"Herman" on the ot
Jim Coughenour
Three tales – one a single 70-page sentence, an extended breath that leaps from embittered melancholy to comic travelogue and an unexpected epiphany of grief. I've had a couple novels by Krasznahorkai tucked away for years, unread. This I picked up for its clever cover and format (once you've read the first story, you have to flip the book over to read the other two). From the first page I was afraid I was reading Thomas Bernhard, but on a foggy Sunday night in San Francisco how I could resist a ...more
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-work
So far, I have found every Krasznahorkai work I've read to be fascinating, though not necessarily enjoyable. The Last Wolf & Herman are no exceptions to this, despite being quite short. Make no mistake, though the New Directions edition is over a hundred pages, that's thanks to small pages and wide margins, so in truth there are perhaps only about fifty regular pages-worth of content here. Of those fifty pages, more than half are taken up by The Last Wolf, a story that consists of a single sente ...more
Steve N
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very odd, not my taste. A few short stories told in one long, run on sentence. More of a philosophy book told through a story, like The Alchemist or Old Man and the Sea.

Hard to stay focused because it's told in a 70 page long sentence. Impressive, but also very forced.

Pretty nice cover though.

The Last Wolf - 48% Steve Nicholas Avocados
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Last Wolf - one long sentence (out of necessity or dare*) that may show excessive technique yet it’s interesting and not difficult.

The Game Warden is brilliant; i immediately want to read it again.

The Death of a Craft - companion piece.

*when asked about the length of his sentences, the writer said that he distrusted short sentences because people speak with commas, not periods. ‘the dot belongs to God, not the human; and perhaps God will make the last dot.’ [New Yorker]

deserves 5 stars aft
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful place to start for non converts to Krasznahorkai, although the two (Herman is split into two takes) stories 'The Last Wolf' & 'Herman' were originally published 23 years apart!!!

Fans will love to dip into his world again, newbies can get a taste before they'll be hooked.
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László Krasznahorkai is a Hungarian novelist and screenwriter who is known for critically difficult and demanding novels, often labelled as postmodern, with dystopian and bleak melancholic themes.

He is probably best known through the oeuvre of the director Béla Tarr, who has collaborated with him on several movies.

Krasznahorkai has been honored with numerous literary prizes, among them the highes

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