THE MELANCHOLY OF RESISTANCE is a challenging book: the text is dense and the sentences long, and the story's events are depicted with immense detail and a steady realism.
On a dark, snowy night a huge truck carrying a stuffed whale chugs into a provincial Hungarian town. People gather round, seemingly enchanted by the strange attraction. However, rumours quickly spread about its purpose for being there, and slowly but surely normal life spins into a night of chaos as local superstitions, paranoia, resentments and opportunism are inflamed.
The story focuses on three characters: Valuska (a naive free-spirit), Mr Eszter (a reclusive professor), and Mrs Eszter (a Machiavellian figure obsessed with gaining power), and it's these three portrayals that are the book's strongest aspect.
The story itself is a slow-burner: events aren't rushed or presented in an unnatural way, and a criticism might be that things are drawn out a little too much at times, especially in the middle. That said, there is no doubt that the intricacy of the telling, plus the overall dark realism, has a captivating quality and an epic feel.