Best Selling Books by Peter Handke

Peter Handke is the author of Kaspar and Other Plays (1989), Don Juan: His Own Version (2010), Across (2000), The Moravian Night (2016) and other 91 books.

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Kaspar and Other Plays

release date: Jan 01, 1989
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
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.

Across

release date: Jun 15, 2000
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.

The Moravian Night

release date: Dec 06, 2016
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.

A Sorrow Beyond Dreams

release date: Mar 26, 2013
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 Great Fall

release date: Apr 15, 2018
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.

The Jukebox and Other Essays on Storytelling

release date: Jul 30, 1994
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
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.

Short Letter, Long Farewell

release date: Jan 01, 2009
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.

Plays : 1

release date: Jan 01, 1997
Plays : 1
''''Peter Handke''s work is amongst the most strikingly original of all post-war European writing'' (Times Educational Supplement) Offending the Audience is a dissection of our expectations about what ought to happen in the theatre. Self-Accusation is a ''cunning and ironic attack on bureaucratic moral guilt'' (Observer); Kaspar is based on the true story of Kaspar Hauser, a sixteen year old boy who appeared from nowhere in Nuremberg in 1828 and who had to be taught to speak from scratch. Handke''s play is a downright attack on the way language is used by a corrupt society to depersonalise the individual; My Foot My Tutor is a mime for two actors - Handke has here written an hour-long play without words that ''may at first look like a piece of audience-provocation but that finishes up as sheer theatrical poetry'' (Guardian). In The Ride across Lake Constance, a group of characters (known only by the names of the actors who perform the parts) talk and play games together and skate over the thin ice that separates them from unspoken danger. Intensely theatrical.''an author for whom playwriting seems akin to tightrope walking'' (The Times). They Are Dying Out ''puts the pillars of the bourgeoisie under the microscope to reveal an alien race, suffocated by rationality, unable to cope with untamed subjective impulses and shows an uncanny knack for making the familiar seem strange'' (Plays and Players).''''

The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick

release date: Dec 10, 2007
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

Once Again for Thucydides

release date: Jan 01, 2008
Once Again for Thucydides
Essays by an Austrian writer which magnify routine events. One is on snow in Japan as it falls and melts, another is on a shoe shine man in the Balkans, a third is on tidal waters, flowing and receding on the coast of Spain.

Voyage to the Sonorous Land, Or, The Art of Asking ; And, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other

release date: Jan 01, 1996
Voyage to the Sonorous Land, Or, The Art of Asking ; And, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other
This book presents two plays, both of which are translated into English for the first time. In Voyage to the Sonorous Land, or The Art of Asking, a cockeyed optimist and a spoilsport lead a group of characters to the hinterland of their imaginations, where they search not for the right answers but for the questions. The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other takes place in a city square where more than four hundred characters pass by one another without speaking a single word.

The Weight of the World

release date: Jan 28, 2020
The Weight of the World
A combination of professional notebook and personal diary that records -- both in short, informal jottings and through more formal, extended meditations -- the details of Handke''s daily life in Paris from November 1975 through March 1977. Along with references to such mentors as Truffaut, John Cowper Powys, Robert DeNiro and Goethe, the journal recounts Handke''s passing impressions of strangers; the deep and delicate nature of his relationship with his daughter; and a brief hospital stay which stirs his ever-present fear of death.

Repetition

release date: Jan 28, 2020
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

My Year in the No-Man's-Bay

release date: Aug 05, 1998
My Year in the No-Man's-Bay
Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke''s autobiographical novel My Year in No-Man''s Bay is "a meditation on two decades of a writer''s life culminating in a solitary, sobering year of reckoning" (Publishers Weekly). In his most substantial novel to date, Handke tells the story of an Austrian writer--a man much like Handke himself--who undergoes a "metamorphosis" from self-assured artist into passive "observer and chronicler." He explores the world and describes his many severed relationships, from his tenuous contact with his son, to a failed marriage to "the Catalan," to a doomed love affair with a former Miss Yugoslavia. As the writer sifts through his memories, he is also under pressure to complete his next novel, but he cannot decide how to come to terms with both the complexity of the world and the inability of his novel to reflect it.

The Left-Handed Woman

release date: Jan 28, 2020
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.

On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House

release date: Dec 29, 2015
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.

Absence

release date: Jun 15, 2000
Absence
A “challenging and rewarding novel”* from Nobel Prize-winning author Peter Handke. The time is an unspecified modernity, the place possibly Europe. Absence follows four nameless people -- the old man, the woman, the soldier, and the gambler -- as they journey to a desolate wasteland beyond the limits of an unnamed city. “In this smoothly written fable, Handke forcefully summons readers to the recognition that the essence of human life lies in the striving for self-expression even though its perfect realization must always remain elusive.”—*Publishers Weekly "A remarkably abstract book even for the very abstract Handke... Slippery but engrossing work, silkily translated." - Kirkus Reviews

3 X Handke

release date: Jan 01, 1988
3 X Handke
Three stories deal with the breakdown of language, a man''s search for his missing wife, and a mother''s suicide

A Moment of True Feeling

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.

Slow Homecoming

release date: Jan 01, 2009
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.

A Journey to the Rivers

release date: Jan 01, 1997
A Journey to the Rivers
Examines the Balkan conflict from a Serbian perspective that includes a heated critique of the Western media

Walk about the Villages

release date: Jan 01, 1996
Walk about the Villages
Peter Handke''s dramatic poem Walk about the Villages is the fourth part of Handke''s "homecoming cycle", whose other three parts (A Slow Homecoming, The Lesson of St. Victoire, and A Child Story) can be found under the American title A Slow Homecoming. The underlying story line of Walk about the Villages could not be simpler. The "prodigal" writer Gregor returns to his home village. He and his brother Hans, a construction worker, and his shopkeeper sister have a dispute over the disposition of the house which the parents had built and the land which they had cleared with their own hands many years before. Within this straightforward conflict, Handke touches upon almost every aspect of our existence. It is a lyrical play, a poetic drama on the order of Thornton Wilder''s Our Town, and Dylan Thomas'' Under Milk Wood. It is an "Everyman and Everywoman" dramatic poem for our time.

The Fruit Thief

release date: Mar 15, 2022
The Fruit Thief
A major new novel from the Nobel laureate Peter Handke—one of his most inventive and dazzlingly original works On a summer day under a blue sky a man is stung on his foot by a bee. “The sting signaled that the time had come to set out, to hit the road. Off with you. The hour of departure has arrived.” The man boards a train to Paris, crosses the city by Métro, then boards another, disembarking in a small town on the plains to the north. He is searching for a young woman he calls the Fruit Thief, who, like him, has set off on a journey to the Vexin plateau. What follows is a vivid but dreamlike exploration of topography both physical and affective, charting the Fruit Thief’s perambulations across France’s internal borderlands: alongside rivers and through ravines, beside highways and to a bolt-hole under the stairs of an empty hotel. Chance encounters—with a man scrambling through the underbrush in search of his lost cat, and with a delivery boy who abandons his scooter to become a fellow traveler for a day—are like so many throws of the dice, each exposing new facets of this mysterious individual in the manner of a cubist portrait. In prose of unrivaled precision, lucidly rendered into English by Krishna Winston, The Fruit Thief elevates the terrain of everyday life to epic status, and situates the microgeography of an individual at the center of a book like few others. This is one of Nobel laureate Peter Handke’s most significant and original achievements.

2 X Handke

release date: Jan 01, 1989
2 X Handke
Here, in one edition, are two provocative novels that show why, as John Updike has written in The New Yorker, "Handke is widely regarded by many as the best writer in his language". The two stories, "A Moment of True Feeling", and "The Left-Handed Woman", confirm Handke''s enormous gifts as a writer.

Quiet Places

release date: Mar 15, 2022
Quiet Places
A career-spanning collection of essays by Nobel laureate Peter Handke, featuring two new works never before published in English Quiet Places brings together Peter Handke’s forays into the border regions of life and story, upending the distinction between literature and the literary essay. Proceeding from the specificity of place (the mountains of Carinthia and Spain, the hinterlands of Paris) to specific objects (the jukebox, the boletus mushroom) to the irreducible particularity of our moods and mental impressions, these works—each a novella in its own right—offer rare insight into the affinities that can develop between a storyteller and the unlikeliest of subjects. Here, Handke posits a reevaluation of the possibilities and proper concerns of literature in a style unmistakably his own. This collection unites the three essays from The Jukebox with two new works: “Essay on a Mushroom Maniac,” the story of a friend’s descent to and ascent from the depths of obsession, and “Essay on Quiet Places,” a memoiristic tour d’horizon of bathrooms and their place in Handke’s life and work. Featuring masterful translations by Krishna Winston and Ralph Manheim, this collection encapsulates the oeuvre of one of our greatest living writers.

Peter Handke Plays: 1

release date: Jan 01, 1997
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