Best Selling Books by Peter Handke

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Crossing the Sierra de Gredos

release date: Jan 28, 2020
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Crossing the Sierra de Gredos
In this visionary novel, Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke offers descriptions of objects, relationships, and events that teach readers a renewed way of seeing; he creates a wealth of images to replace those lost to convention and conformity. On the outskirts of a northwestern European river port city lives a powerful woman banker, a public figure admired and hated in equal measure, who has decided to turn from the worlds of high finance and modern life to embark on a quest. Having commissioned a famous writer to undertake her "authentic" biography, she journeys through the Spanish Sierra de Gredos and the region of La Mancha to meet him. As she travels by all-terrain vehicle, bus, and finally on foot, the nameless protagonist encounters five way stations that become the stuff of her biography and the biography of the modern world, a world in which genuine images and unmediated experiences have been exploited and falsified by commercialization and by the voracious mass media. Crossing the Sierra de Gredos is a very human book of yearning and the ancient quest for love, peopled with memorable characters (from multiple historical periods) and imbued with Handke's inimitable ability to portray universal, inner-worldly adventures that blend past, future, present, and dreamtime.

On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House

release date: Dec 29, 2015
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On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House
On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House is Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke's evocative, moving, often fantastic, short novel about one man's conflict with himself and his journey toward resolution. During one night shift, an unnamed, middle-aged pharmacist in Taxham, an isolated suburb of Salzburg, tells his story to a narrator. The pharmacist is known and well-respected, but lonely and estranged from his wife. He feels most comfortable wandering about in nature, collecting and eating hallucinogenic mushrooms. One day he receives a blow to the head that leaves him unable to speak, and the narrative is transformed from ironic description into a collection of sensual impressions, observations and reflections. The pharmacist, who is now called the driver, sets out on a quest, travelling into the Alps with two companions—a former Olympic skiing champion and a formerly famous poet--where he is beaten and later stalked by a woman. He drives through a tunnel and has a premonition of death, then finds himself in a surreal, foreign land. In a final series of bizarre, cathartic events, the driver regains his speech and is taken back to his pharmacy—back to his former life, but forever changed. A powerful, poetic exploration of language, longing and dislocation in the human experience, On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House reveals Handke at his magical best.

Contemporary German Stories: Peter Handke, Friederike Mayröcker, Uwe Timm, and Others

release date: Nov 01, 1998
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Contemporary German Stories: Peter Handke, Friederike Mayröcker, Uwe Timm, and Others
Expertly introduced and edited by A. Leslie Willson, the present volume is a collection to read and cherish, and to reread: to pass along and talk about. Its broad themes of tragedy, satire, and carefully observed daily living make it a cross section of German life and liveliness over the second half of the 20th century.

A Sorrow Beyond Dreams

release date: Mar 26, 2013
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A Sorrow Beyond Dreams
"My mother has been dead for almost seven weeks: I had better go to work before the need to write about her, which I felt so strongly at her funeral, dies away and I fall back into the dull speechlessness with which I reacted to the nerves of her suicide." So begins Peter Handke's extraordinary confrontation with his mother's death. In a painful and courageous attempt to deal with the almost intolerable horror of her suicide, he sets out to piece together the facts of her life, as he perceives them. What emerges is a loving portrait of inconsolable grief, a woman whose lively spirit has been crushed not once but over and over again by the miseries of her place and time. Yet well into middle age, living in the Austrian village of her birth, she still remains haunted by her dreams.

Repetition

release date: Jun 01, 1988
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Repetition
Set in 1960, Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke's Repetition tells of Filib Kobal's journey from his home in Carinthia to Slovenia on the trail of his missing brother, Gregor. He is armed only with two of Gregor's books: a copy book from agricultural school, and a Slovenian - German dictionary, in which Gregor has marked certain words. The resulting investigation of the laws of language and naming becomes a transformative investigation of himself and the world around him. "Handke's eminence, displayed in a substantial oeuvre of plays, novels and poems, is reaffirmed brilliantly by [Repetition]." - Publishers Weekly

The Moravian Night

release date: Dec 06, 2016
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The Moravian Night
An odyssey through the mind and memory of a washed-up writer, from one of Europe’s most provocative novelists Mysteriously summoned to a houseboat on the Morava River, a few friends, associates, and collaborators of an old writer listen as he tells a story that will last until dawn: the tale of the once well-known writer’s recent odyssey across Europe. As his story unfolds, it visits places that represent stages of the narrator’s and the continent’s past, many now lost or irrecoverably changed through war, death, and the subtler erosions of time. His wanderings take him from the Balkans to Spain, Germany, and Austria, from a congress of experts on noise sickness to a clandestine international gathering of jew’s-harp virtuosos. His story and its telling are haunted by a beautiful stranger, a woman who has a preternatural hold over the writer and appears sometimes as a demon, sometimes as the longed-for destination of his travels. Powerfully alive, honest, and at times deliciously satirical, The Moravian Night explores the mind and memory of an aging writer, tracking the anxieties, angers, fears, and pleasures of a life inseparable from the recent history of Central Europe. In crystalline prose, Peter Handke traces and interrogates his own thoughts and perceptions while endowing the world with a mythic dimension. As Jeffrey Eugenides writes, “Handke’s sharp eye is always finding a strange beauty amid this colorless world.” The Moravian Night is at once an elegy for the lost and forgotten and a novel of self-examination and uneasy discovery, from one of world literature’s great voices.

Across

release date: Jun 15, 2000
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Across
"Those who gravitate to the regions where fiction, poetry, imaginative flights and speculative fancy converge constitute Handke's natural audience." - Publishers Weekly Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke's novel Across tells the story of a quiet, organized classics teacher named Andreas Loser. One night, on the way to his regularly scheduled card game, he passes a tree that has been defaced by a swastika. Impulsively yet deliberately, he tracks down the defacer and kills him. With this act, Loser has crossed an invisible threshold, and will be stuck in this secular purgatory until he can confess his crime.

Slow Homecoming

release date: Jan 01, 2009
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Slow Homecoming
By Nobel Prize Winner Peter Handke Provocative, romantic, and restlessly exploratory, Peter Handke is one of the great writers of our time. Slow Homecoming, originally published in the late 1970s, is central to his achievement and to the powerful influence he has exercised on other writers, chief among them W.G. Sebald. A novel of self-questioning and self-discovery, Slow Homecoming is a singular odyssey, an escape from the distractions of the modern world and the unhappy consciousness, a voyage that is fraught and fearful but ultimately restorative, ending on an unexpected note of joy. The book begins in America. Writing with the jarring intensity of his early work, Handke introduces Valentin Sorger, a troubled geologist who has gone to Alaska to lose himself in his work, but now feels drawn back home: on his way to Europe he moves in ominous disorientation through the great cities of America. The second part of the book, "The Lesson of Mont Sainte-Victoire," identifies Sorger as a projection of the author, who now writes directly about his own struggle to reconstitute himself and his art by undertaking a pilgrimage to the great mountain that Cézanne painted again and again. Finally, "Child Story" is a beautifully observed, deeply moving account of a new father--not so much Sorger or the author as a kind of Everyman--and his love for his growing daughter.

The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick

release date: Dec 10, 2007
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The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick
Joseph Bloch is a soccer goalie turned construction worker. He is wandering aimlessly around a stifling Austrian border town, after pursuing and then murdering, almost unthinkingly, a female movie cashier. -- adapted from back cover and perusal of book

Short Letter, Long Farewell

release date: Jan 01, 2009
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Short Letter, Long Farewell
By Nobel Prize Winner Peter Handke Short Letter, Long Farewell is one the most inventive and exhilarating of the great Peter Handke's novels. Full of seedy noir atmospherics and boasting an air of generalized delirium, the book starts by introducing us to a nameless young German who has just arrived in America, where he hopes to get over the collapse of his marriage. No sooner has he arrived, however, than he discovers that his ex-wife is pursuing him. He flees, she follows, and soon the couple is running circles around each other across the length of America--from Philadelphia to St. Louis to the Arizona desert, and from Portland, Oregon, to L.A. Is it love or vengeance that they want from each other? Everything's spectacularly unclear in a book that is travelogue, suspense story, domestic comedy, and Western showdown, with a totally unexpected Hollywood twist at the end. Above all, Short Letter, Long Farewell is a love letter to America, its landscapes and popular culture, the invitation and the threat of its newness and wildness and emptiness, with the promise of a new life--or the corpse of an old one--lying just around the corner.
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