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February 19 , 2009

Seiobo There Below


Winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize.

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Reed’s brothers are always arguing. One aspires to a life of faith, the other to a life of reason built on the bedrock of scientific truth. She tries to strike a balance but isn't at all sure. Then there’s the mysterious stranger who knows something that could change everything. Reed’s time is almost up. What will she do?

Beauty, in László Krasznahorkai's new novel, reflects, however fleeting, the sacred - even if we are mostly unable to bear it. In Seiobo There Below we see the Japanese goddess Seiobo returning to mortal realms in search of perfection. An ancient Buddha being restored; the Italian renaissance painter Perugino managing his workshop; a Japanese Noh actor rehearsing; a fanatic of Baroque music lecturing to a handful of old villagers; tourists intruding into the rituals of Japan's most sacred shrine; a heron as it gracefully hunts its prey.

Told in chapters that sweep us across the world and through time, covering the furthest reaches of human experience, Krasznahorkai demands that we pause and ask ourselves these questions: What is sacred? How do we define beauty? What makes great art endure? Melancholic and mesmerisingly beautiful, this latest novel by the author of Satantango shows us how to glimpse the divine through extraordinary art and human endeavour.

Winner of Best Translated Book of the Year Award 2014. Translated by Ottilie Mulzet

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