Here’s a taste of the hot new thing in the world international letters, a lyric essay (as the author calls it) by László Krasznahorkai commissioned for the New York Times (an institution not immune to the BUZZ) and translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes. (Szirtes is a prolific Twitter-author; he cracked me up a couple of days ago when he tweeted, “Egrets? I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention.”) Krasznahorkai is a voluptuary of melancholy. Three of his novels have been published in English by New Directions. You can read a terrific interview with him here at the UK Guardian.
I’ve been living in complete silence for months, I might say for years, with just the usual dull sounds you hear at the outskirts of town, the occasional echo of steps in the corridor and, further off, in the stairwell, someone dragging a sack, a carpet, a package, or a corpse, God knows what, along the ground; or the sound of the elevator as it slows, stops, opens, then closes and starts to rise or descend. Every so often a dog barks briefly, someone laughs or shouts. But everything dies away, soon lost in the constant low-level murmur of the street outside. That is what complete silence is like round here.