War & War by László Krasznahorkai
A brief, manic history of humanity, the multi-layered saga of War & War follows provincial archivist György Korin as he seeks a “Way Out” of life’s war and violence. Built from long, discursive sentences akin to those of Thomas Bernhard, Krasznahorkai’s protagonist lacks the hyper-rationality of Bernhard’s narrators, relying instead on a high-octane illogicality that regularly drags the novel into realms of zaniness and absurdity. His buoyant comedy and refusal to succumb to myriad setbacks make it hard not to root for Korin, despite the creeping sense that his search for a prevailing peace is not only ill-fated, but the journey of a madman. At once engrossing and alienating, hopeful and miserable, epiphanic and befuddling, this coiled, convoluted novel—which emphatically eschews just about every literary convention—is strange and special and, thus, a struggle worthy of author, narrator, and reader alike.