Absence by Peter Handke

By Peter Handke

Translation by way of Ralph Manheim

Amazon description:

The time is an unspecified modernity, where in all probability Europe. Absence follows 4 anonymous humans -- the previous guy, the girl, the soldier, and the gambler -- as they trip to a desolate desolate tract past the boundaries of an unnamed city.

A very fascinating Library magazine overview, that still turns out keen on my eventually Schopenhauerian view of library protection (however, its prejudice opposed to "slim volumes" is eventually undeserved).

From Library Journal
Four characters, pointed out in basic terms because the outdated guy, the girl, the Soldier, and the Gambler, commute to a distant wilderness bordering on an unnamed urban. Seasons switch in a single day, the previous guy disappears, and the computing device he consists of seems to the soldier in a dream, yet regardless of evocative prose there's little path right here, in basic terms curious moments and a obscure unease. Handke expects his readers to swallow each one descriptive element during this interminable trip, no matter if it merits curiosity--or has any significance--or no longer. In his final novella (at simply over a hundred pages we should always no longer overrate those narrow volumes), the protagonist's reports shed a few gentle at the book's name ( Afternoon of A author, LJ 9/1/89). Absence , lamentably, is totally actual to its title.
- Peter Bricklebank, urban Coll., CUNY

and a way more neutral review:
From Publishers Weekly
German writer Handke ( Afternoon of a author ) enlarges the recurrent metaphysical preoccupations of his prolific output during this most recent not easy and lucrative novel. The story's 4 anonymous protagonists meander via a surreally disconnected and flattened panorama. An outdated artist, a gambler unaware of himself, a callow soldier whose self-effacing "absence" is a security opposed to the area, and a useless girl whose frantic mirror-staring fails to make her current to herself, "roam"--as the novel's epigraph from Chuang Tzusp okay places it--"in the palace of Nowhere, the place all issues are one." As they wander throughout a nearly featureless northern undeniable, the earlier, current and destiny turn into one and the characters' insubstantial identities cave in into each other. but if they discover legible symbols within the surrounding blankness and skim them with conviction, the panorama springs into recognizable lifestyles and the characters notice their energy. during this easily written myth, Handke forcefully summons readers to the popularity that the essence of human existence lies within the striving for self-expression even supposing its ideal consciousness should always stay elusive.

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Additional resources for Absence

Sample text

He takes the opposite direction from the bus, cuts across the city line, and strikes out across country. Here again, as previously on the road, he keeps looking over his shoulder, not to make sure that no one is following him, but as though expecting to see something behind him. Now and then he even spins about, as though to face an invisible group, which possibly includes the little clumps o f birch trees. Making his way through rough scrubland along a rusty, abandoned railroad track, the gambler takes longer and longer strides, even jum ping over a tie.

I need danger. There may be danger here, too, but I don't feel it. What was that dream I had? I was sitting at the table, I had sat there every evening for ten years, waiting for the others. And when they cam e, they sat down at other tables, not out of hostility but because nobody knew me. W hat has becom e o f me? They call me the ‘artist,' but I’m only the archenemy, the gambler. Instead of embodying the world, I am the point where lovelessness is concentrated. I am the point at the tip of the lance, a bundle of whiplashes.

None o f them knows how often I say to myself: Shut up and stay put. They call me a king, but I’m just a liar and a hypocrite. My generosity is really condescension, my indulgence and attitude of live and let live is disloyalty, my aloofness contempt. ” The gambler looks around, taking in the strip o f wand­ like alders, the stunted silver birches, and the lone spruce sighing in the wind at the edge o f the disk; takes two stones from the pile, knocks them together; and, swaying his torso back and forth, carries on with his mum bled singsong: “ Make a fresh start.

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