Wooof, this book. This is a relatively short book (270 pages), but the experience of reading this book is tasking, exhausting, and miring. Each chapter is a rough 25 or so pages of one long block of text. There’s sentences, but only one paragraph per chapter. And that’s before you get to the actual text. The story, similar to something like The Master and Margarita, is about a dying Hungarian town mired in Communism and human filth. A conman, maybe the devil, moves into and starts pulling levers. The characters, such as they are, are like Beckett and Kafka amorphous beings who actions seem crude, vile, and cryptic. The effect of the dialog, the plot, the setting, and style is like a slow moving morass slowly creeping up on you as the writing overwhelms you. It’s completely disorienting and it’s for me to feel the effect of the writing effectively creating the experience of being in the world of the novel. It’s utterly brilliant, and deeply unpleasant to read.
It makes me think more and more about what I want from books, especially as I read them. My experience reading this book was to take one or two chapters at a time (2 per day or so over 5-6 days) and to always have additional, more narrative driven books on standby to rescue me from the book.
That said, it actually went plenty quickly when the number of minutes needed for each chapter. Since I had more or less given myself over to wading through this mucky book and knowing there’s be so much I missed, I actually finished it rather quickly. Kind of strange all told.