Best Selling Books by Peter Handke

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Moment of True Feeling

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A Moment of True Feeling
At the beginning of Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke's novel A Moment of True Feeling, Gregor Keuschnig awakens from a nightmare in which he has committed murder, and announces, "From today on, I shall be leading a double life." The duplicity, however, lies only in Keuschnig's mind; his everyday life as the press atache for the Austrian Embassy in Paris continues much as before: routine paperwork, walks in the city, futile intimacies with his family and his mistress. But Keuschnig is oblivious to it all, merely simulating his previous identity while he searches for a higher significance, a mystical moment of true sensation which can free him from what the novel calls life's "dreadful normalcy." Convinced that, if he fails, life's meaning will be revealed to him only when it is too late, he looks for portents everywhere. Keuschnig's search takes him through all of Paris. At every step, his feelings are interwoven with acute observation of its streets, buildings, cafes, parks, sky. It is an intimate and evocative journey, in a city that is at once supportive and familiar, strange and provocative.

The Ride Across Lake Constance and Other Plays

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The Ride Across Lake Constance and Other Plays
A collection of six plays by Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke, spanning the early years of the Austrian playwright's career The first full-length play The Ride Across Lake Constance, is one of Handke's best-known works. It deals directly with one of Handke's favorite themes: the realities of theater itself, independent of the offstage world, and the way language (dialogue) and objects (props) operate in the skewed world of the stage. Therein it anticipates They Are Dying Out, the second full-length play in this volume. In some ways more conventional than many of Handke's plays, They Are Dying Out presents one of his most fascinating protagonists, Quitt, a businessman who first induces a group of colleagues to set up a monopoly and then torpedoes the scheme. The four short plays that round out the book--Prophecy, Calling for Help, Quodlibet, and My Foot My Tutor--were written before The Ride Across Lake Constance and show Handke moving from the experimental mode of his early work toward the richness and complexity that have marked him as the most important dramatist since Becket. Together, Handke's plays bear witness to the truth of Richard Gilman's observation that "in Handke's theater, language, exposed, assaulted, wrestled with, driven to limits, and pursued still further, begins to take on, like the color returning to the cheeks of a nearly hanged man, the signs of a strange and unexpected resurrection."

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 Left-Handed Woman

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The Left-Handed Woman
A young woman faces loneliness and alienation on a journey to find her own life outside of being a wife and mother in Nobel Prize-winning author Peter Handke’s The Left-Handed Woman. One evening, when Marianne and her husband, Bruno, are dining out together to celebrate his return from a business trip, Marianne listens to him speak and realizes suddenly yet finally that Bruno will leave her. Whether at that moment, or in years to come, she will be deserted. And instinctively Marianne knows she must fend for herself and her young son now, before that time comes. She sends Bruno away and settles down to a life alone, at first experiencing moments of panic, restlessly wandering in rooms grown stifling. The stillness of the house wears her down, and she starts taking long walks, or visiting with her close friend, Franziska. Gradually, what began as a selfish escape from the prospects of the future becomes in fact liberation. The environment she'd always hated--a no man's land of identical houses, with all curtains drawn--recedes; her relationships with those dear to her become less threatening, less necessary; and Marianne finds a new pattern for her life and the strength to go on alone.

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).
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