“…I know that the moment has arrived, the moment in which I will go mad, for madness is nothing else but hunger, and I am unspeakably hungry, tormentedly, eternally and tormentedly hungry, I would eat anything, anything that I would find on the road, but I don’t find anything to eat, nothing that could appease my hunger, so I am going to go mad, and here is another road, its contour again drawing a vista far to the left, maybe this could mean a new direction, but no, there’s no way, it can’t go on, there is no more onwards, I stop and howl, and I howl that I’m exhausted, that hunger is tormenting me, that I hate infinity and I hate the vistas, and I hate all that is, but what I hate the most is how I’m howling here into the infinite.”
Some passages defy interpretations. Either you “feel” them or you are doomed to be befuddled by them; the interpretative key lies within the reader and not inside the text. This certainly was my impression when I re-read Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai’s collaborative chapbook with German painter Max Neumann, Animalinside. One of the two would either write a batch of stories or create several images like the one above, leaving it up to the other to create a complementary work. This resulted in a 40 page chapbook filled with remarkable images (a seven-layer illustration was reproduced inside this limited-edition (only 2000 produced) booklet and startling scenes, such as the bit quoted above. Krasznahorkai’s writings, replete with frayed, almost obliterated narrators, mesh very well with Neumann’s stark illustrations.
Animalinside is not for those who want a traditional narrative, but for those brave souls who are receptive to writings/illustrations that will disturb and unsettle you, it perhaps is one of the finest works of the past decade. A second edition is scheduled to be released in mid-August in the United States and while I am uncertain if it will be as limited as the original print run, it certainly is worth the $20 or so to purchase it.