I Don't Need Anything from Here

László Krasznahorkai

Illustration by Guillaume Gilbert

I would leave everything here: the valleys, the hills, the paths, and the jaybirds from the gardens, I would leave here the petcocks and the padres, heaven and earth, spring and fall, I would leave here the exit routes, the evenings in the kitchen, the last amorous gaze, and all of the city-bound directions that make you shudder, I would leave here the thick twilight falling upon the land, gravity, hope, enchantment, and tranquility, I would leave here those beloved and those close to me, everything that touched me, everything that shocked me, fascinated and uplifted me, I would leave here the noble, the benevolent, the pleasant, and the demonically beautiful, I would leave here the budding sprout, every birth and existence, I would leave here incantation, enigma, distances, inexhaustibility, and the intoxication of eternity; for here I would leave this earth and these stars, because I would take nothing with me from here, because I've looked into what's coming, and I don't need anything from here.

translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet

Read the original in Hungarian

László Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, Hungary in 1954. He worked for some years as an editor until 1984, when he became a freelance writer. He now lives in reclusiveness in the hills of Szentlászló. He has written five novels and won numerous prizes, including the 2013 Best Translated Book Award in Fiction for Satantango. In 1993, he won the Best Book of the Year Award in Germany for The Melancholy of Resistance. For more about him, visit his extensive website here.

Ottilie Mulzet translates from Hungarian and Mongolian. Her translation of Szilárd Borbély's Berlin-Hamlet has been excerpted in The American Reader; Borbély's novel-memoir The Dispossessed is forthcoming from HarperColllins. Other translations include Lazarus by Gábor Schein (Triton, 2010). Translations from the work of László Krasznahorkai include Animalinside (Sylph Editions and New Directions, 2010), Seiobo There Below (New Directions, 2013, winner of the Best Translated Book Award), Destruction and Sorrow Beneath the Heavens (2015, Seagull Books), and The World Goes On (New Directions, forthcoming). She is also working on an anthology of Mongolian folktales and completing a dissertation on the linguistic analysis of Mongolian riddles and proverbs.