A Mountain to the North, a Lake to the South, Paths to the West, a River to the East by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet / ISBN 9780811234474 / 144-page paperback from New Directions
A quiet, poetic, and exquisitely gorgeous novel describing a wandering mythic figure in a Kyoto monastery, by the National Book Award winner
The grandson of Prince Genji lives outside of space and time and wanders the grounds of an old monastery in Kyoto. The monastery, too, is timeless: a place of prayer and deliverance, with barely a trace of any human presence. The wanderer is searching for a garden that has long captivated him: “he continually saw the garden in his mind’s eye without being able to touch its existence.”
This exquisitely beautiful novel by National Book Award–winner László Krasznahorkai―perhaps his most serene and poetic work―describes a search for the unobtainable and the riches to be discovered along the way. Despite the difficulties in finding the garden, the reader is closely introduced to the construction processes of the monastery (described in poetic detail) as well as the geological and biological processes of the surrounding area (the underground layers revealed beneath a bed of moss, the travels of cypress-tree seeds on the wind, feral foxes and stray dogs meandering outside the monastery’s walls), making this an unforgettable meditation on nature, life, history, and being.
"Best known for his dense, entropic fictions and grubby, Gogolian characters, Laszlo Krasznahorkai will surprise longtime readers with the cosmic serenity of his latest...Gorgeously translated by Ottilie Mulzet." ― Dustin Illingworth, The New York Times
The winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature and the 2015 Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement, László Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, Hungary.