Seiobo there below by László Krasznahorkai

Seiobo there below by  László Krasznahorkai

Hungarian fiction

Original title – Seiobo járt odalent

Translator – Ottilie Mulzet

Source personal copy

Just a perfect day
Drink Sangria in the park
And then later
When it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later
A movie, too, and then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

I choose perfect day by Lou Reed as it mix part of what is in this book there isn’t a perfect day and this wasn’t one but seemed it .

I wonder if I am the only one that tends to go the other way in times of trouble and read the tougher books to read when in times of trouble . So I found myself picking up my second novel to read by Krasznahorkai , the other week of course I had been remind I has it when he won the recent man booker international award .Krasznahorkai is best known for Satantango which is the other book by him I have read . He has since the fall of the soviet bloc traveled the world hence this novel which is written 20 plus years after Satantango  is set mainly in japan but also in various places and times . He has spent the last decade in both Japan and China .

Everything around it moves , as if just this one time and one time only , as if the message of Heraclitus has arrived here though some deep current , from a distance of an entire universe in spite of all the senseless obstacles , because the water moves .

The opening lines .


The premise of Seiobo there below is the Japanese goddess once every 3000 years has a peach tree in her garden that bares fruit and this fruit gives who ever eats it immortality . Now she decides to search for perfection on the earth thus setting up the sequences of stories that follow in the book as we see her follow various artist actors and such .Trying to find what is perfection but is perfection what it seems , is that great actor the face every one sees when he acts , or is he different behind the scenes ? How do you get the perfect colour for that picture .What makes great art and is their great art with great artist , do great artist make great art .Each story leads some how in some way to the next as we follow Seiobo on her quest .

Well as you see as ever something seems to escape me in Krasznahorkai  writing  but l, I can put my finger on it here for me as a reader it is time . This is like me being given Boy and Actung baby  by u2  or even Tender prey and push the sky away by Nick cave . Now these are all great records but can you list to Boy then actung baby ? it is like I have broken the sequence as with this book which chapters follow the Fibonacci sequence maybe I have jumped in my reading of him from boy to actung baby and am feeling a bit disjointed .I mentioned Nick Cave as to parapharse him when he was speaking to Blixa Bargeld in the documentary 20000 day on earth he wish he had learned to edit at an earlier age , but why to me Satantango is Krasznahorkai Tender prey rough uncut and totally addictive , but for me I feel I have to read the other books by him in english and at a later date return to this one to fully get the sense of this as a book .As for now I was reminded of the film pi by Darren Aronfsky , which sees a young mathematician driven to madness by the search for perfection in maths like that Seiobo search for the perfect person to receive the peach is actually a flawed one art is in the eye , the moment , the time , the subject and can be perfect for only a split second .So i will return with a longer review after I have in a few years read his other books as I get hold of them in english .

Do you like jumping about  in a writers life ?

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tony
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 11:23:33

    This is a good one, but as you said, difficult to really get on top of. It’s surprising that not much of his has come out in the UK as there’s definitely more available from the US…


  2. Amateur Reader (Tom)
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 14:54:09

    This is a hard one. Talk about oblique. Gives a reader a lot to do, though.

    You are right that there will be a lot of continuity with the other novels once they wander over to England. Krasznahorkai’s nightmares travel – wherever he goes, they follow.


  3. roughghosts
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 16:23:27

    This is an author I have yet to explore (I have Satantango on my shelves). I ordered a back issue of Music & Literature totally devoted to his work (and the film and artwork inspired by it). I thought starting with that would be a good guidebook.


  4. Amateur Reader (Tom)
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 16:24:50

    That Music & Literature issue is very good.


  5. 1streading
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 21:33:55

    Like you. I’ve read Satantango – it’s an interesting point you raise about the gap, I hadn’t realised they were separated by quite so much. Perhaps I should try something else of his next…


  6. Tony Messenger
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 23:04:13

    Thanks Stu for your views, personally I think this is a stunning work, far exceeding Satantango, of course never reaching perfection or else Seiobo would give Krasznahorkai her peach!!! How do you define beauty? Thanks Rough Ghosts for pointing out the “Music and Literature” issue, I’ll track it down.


  7. JacquiWine
    Jun 11, 2015 @ 07:34:35

    Satanango simply blew me away when I read it a few years ago. I must admit to feeling a little daunted by the prospect of Seiobo…Did you catch Krasznahorkai on a recent edition of The Guardian books podcast?


  8. parrish lantern
    Jun 14, 2015 @ 12:25:00

    I purchased this book after reading Satantango, have read war and war, loved both books particularly war and war. So really need to read this but am waiting till I have enough time to immerse myself in it.


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June 2015


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