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BARON WENCKHEIM’S HOMECOMING

László Krasznahorkai

  • Original Title: BARO WENCKHEIM HAZATER
  • Publication date: September 2016
  • Publisher: Magvető
  • Country: HU
  • 512 print pages
  • Drama

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: Hungary
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Looking back on one's life, Death, Facing failure, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Manipulation, Rivalry, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Violence, Power, Corruption, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social relations, LOVE / HATE, Amorous urge

Pitch

A long-lost Baron returns home, having escaped from his many casino debts in Buenos Aires, where he was living in exile. He longs to be reunited with his high-school sweetheart Marika. Meanwhile a Professor resignedly initiates a wave of violence; the consequences carry across the small Hungarian city.

Comments

Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature

Translation rights sold: UK, US, Brazil, Denmark (offer), France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden

This would make a fantastic film, dry, dark, funny and absurd.

László Krasznahorkai is an awarded Hungarian writer, winner of the Man Booker International Prize in 2015. Other prizes he has been awarded include the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize and, in 1993, the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year. His novel SATANTANGO was translated by George Szirtes and won the Best Translated Book Award 2013, a prize which he also won the following year for Ottilie Mulzet’s translation of SEIOBO JART ODALENT (Seiobo There Below).

Summary

Set in contemporary times, BARON WENCKHEIM’S HOMECOMING tells the story of a Prince Myshkin-like figure, Baron Béla Wenckheim, who returns at the end of his life to his provincial Hungarian hometown. Having escaped from his many casino debts in Buenos Aires, where he was living in exile, he longs to be reunited with his high-school sweetheart Marika. Confusions abound, and what follows is an endless storm of gossip, con men, and local politicians, vividly evoking the small town’s alternately drab and absurd existence.

All along, the Professor - a world-famous natural scientist who studies mosses and inhabits a bizarre Zen-like shack in a desolate area outside of town - offers long rants and disquisitions on his attempts to immunize himself from thought. Spectacular actions are staged as death and the abyss loom over the unsuspecting townfolk.

Report available
English translation available

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  • Author’s biography

    László Krasznahorkai is a Hungarian writer who won the Man Booker International Prize in 2015. Other prizes he has been awarded include the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize and, in 1993, the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year. His novel SATANTANGO was translated by George Szirtes and won the Best Translated Book Award 2013, a prize which he also won the following year for Ottilie Mulzet’s translation of SEIOBO JART ODALENT (Seiobo There Below).