Jennifer Szalai writes:
For a Hungarian to call a novel The Melancholy of Resistance (Az ellenállás melankóliája) could be an exercise in truthtelling, a peeling away of illusions, or else a play on the national stereotype of Magyar dolefulness and gloom.[*] László Krasznahorkai seems to be trying to do both, though some of his most enthusiastic champions outside Hungary have seized on the grand themes of his work while paying little attention to the sly comedy that subverts any pretensions to grandeur. W.G. Sebald called The Melancholy of Resistance ‘a book about a world into which the Leviathan has returned’, and Susan Sontag saw it as ‘both an anatomy of desolation, desolation at its most appalling, and a stirring manual of resistance to desolation – through inwardness’. Such endorsements have about them the ring of good intentions, as well as truth, but the emphasis on lugubrious profundities (Sontag’s em-dashed pause only ups the earnest ante) makes it sound as if Krasznahorkai’s fiction takes itself as seriously as Sontag’s does.