Best Selling Books by Peter Handke

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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.

Kaspar and Other Plays

release date: Jan 01, 1989
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Kaspar and Other Plays
Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke's first full-length drama, hailed in Europe as "the play of the decade" and compared in importance to Waiting for Godot Kaspar is the story of an autistic adolescent who finds himself at a complete existential loss on the stage, with but a single sentence to call his own. Drilled by prompters who use terrifyingly funny logical and alogical language-sequences, Kaspar learns to speak "normally" and eventually becomes creative--"doing his own thing" with words; for this he is destroyed. In Offending the Audience and Self-Accusation, one-character "speak-ins," Handke further explores the relationship between public performance and personal identity, forcing us to reconsider our sense of who we are and what we know.

Don Juan: His Own Version

release date: Feb 15, 2010
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Don Juan: His Own Version
Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke offers a wry and entertaining take on history's most famous seducer as he takes a respite from his stressful existence Don Juan's story—"his own version"—is filtered through the consciousness of an anonymous narrator, a failed innkeeper and chef, into whose solitude Don Juan bursts one day. On each day of the week that follows, Don Juan describes the adventures he experienced on that same day a week earlier. The adventures are erotic, but Handke's Don Juan is more pursued than pursuer. What makes his accounts riveting are the remarkable evocations of places and people, and the nature of his narration. Don Juan: His Own Version is, above all, a book about storytelling and its ability to burst the ordinary boundaries of time and space. In this brief and wry volume, Peter Handke conjures images and depicts the subtleties of human interaction with an unforgettable vividness. Along the way, he offers a sharp commentary on many features of contemporary life.

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.

The Jukebox and Other Essays on Storytelling

release date: Jul 30, 1994
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The Jukebox and Other Essays on Storytelling
Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke offers three intimate, eloquent meditations that map a self-reflexive journey from Alaska to the Austria of his childhood, while illuminating the act of writing itself. In his "Essay on Tiredness," Handke transforms an everyday experience--often precipitated by boredom--into a fascinating exploration of the world of slow motion, differentiating degrees of fatigue, the types of weariness, its rejuvenating effects, as well as its erotic, cultural, and political implications. The title essay is Handke's attempt to understand the significance of the jukebox, a quest which leads him, while on a trip in Spain, into the literature of the jukebox, the history of the music box, and memories of the Beatles' music, in turn elucidating various stages of his own life. And in his "Essay on the Successful Day," for which there is no prescription, Handke invents a picture of tranquility, using a self-portrait by Hogarth as his point of departure to describe a state of being at peace. Playful, reflective, insightful, and entertaining, The Jukebox and Other Essays on Storytelling constitutes a literary triptych that redefines the art of the essay and challenges the form of the short story, confirming Peter Handke's stature as "one of the most original and provocative of contemporary writers" (Lawrence Graver, The New York Times Book Review).

Crossing the Sierra de Gredos

release date: Jul 10, 2007
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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.

The Great Fall

release date: Apr 15, 2021
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The Great Fall
"On the day of the Great Fall he left nothing, nothing at all behind." The latest work by Peter Handke, one of our greatest living writers, chronicles a day in life of an aging actor as he makes his way on foot from the outskirts of a great metropolis into its center. He is scheduled to receive a prestigious award that evening from the country's president, and the following day he is supposed to start shooting for a film--perhaps his last--in which he plays a man who runs amok. While passing through a forest, he encounters the outcasts of the society--homeless people and migrants--but he keeps trudging along, traversing a suburb whose inhabitants are locked in petty but mortal conflicts, crossing a seemingly unbridgeable superhighway, and wandering into an abandoned railyard, where police, unused to pedestrians, detain him briefly on suspicion of terrorism. Things don't improve when he reaches the heart of the city. There he can't help but see the alienation characteristic of its residents and the omnipresent malign influence of electronic technology. What, then, is the "Great Fall"? What is this heart-wrenching, humorous, distinctively attentive narrative trying to tell us? As usual, Peter Handke, deeply introspective and powerfully critical of the world around him, leaves it to the reader to figure out.

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.

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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