Literature - Fiction

Peter Handke’s Odyssey Through The Mind And Memory Of A Washed-Up Writer

The Moravian Night - A Story by Peter Handke
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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. More Information…


Peter Handke’s Time-Traveling Tale of a Europe in Flux

The New York Times Book Review – December 30, 2016

Peter Handke commands one of the great German-language prose styles of the postwar period, a riverine rhetoric deep and swift and contrary of current. Since the first of his 100 or so books of fiction, poetry, essays and plays appeared in 1966, his talent has been inarguable, and yet it’s almost exclusively been a talent for the aesthetic. No one has ever read Handke for his ideas, but for his hostility to ideas; his ambiguous pronouns (have “we” become “they” again?), ambivalent punctuation (his infamous “(?).”) and that petulant, didactic way he has with provocation. Previous generations of the Germanosphere had sought a Nationaldichter — a Goethean laureate of nation-state vindication — but the war generation had inverted that yearning into a call for writers of chastisement, of self- and governmental punishment. It’s not a shock that the best of this cohort would hail from Catholic Austria: Thomas Bernhard, Elfriede Jelinek and Handke, who was born in 1942 in Carinthia, a heavily Slavic province of Austria, in a town just over the Drava River from Slovenia. Read more…