Absence by Peter Handke

By Peter Handke

Translation through Ralph Manheim

Amazon description:

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

A very fascinating Library magazine assessment, that still turns out a fan of my eventually Schopenhauerian view of library renovation (however, its prejudice opposed to "slim volumes" is finally undeserved).

From Library Journal
Four characters, pointed out purely because the outdated guy, the lady, the Soldier, and the Gambler, shuttle to a distant desert bordering on an unnamed urban. Seasons switch in a single day, the outdated guy disappears, and the computing device he includes appears to be like to the soldier in a dream, yet regardless of evocative prose there's little course the following, simply curious moments and a imprecise unease. Handke expects his readers to swallow each one descriptive aspect 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 must always now not overrate those narrow volumes), the protagonist's reviews shed a few gentle at the book's name ( Afternoon of A author, LJ 9/1/89). Absence , lamentably, is totally real 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 modern difficult 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 An outdated artist, a gambler unaware of himself, a callow soldier whose self-effacing "absence" is a safeguard opposed to the area, and a useless girl whose frantic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 virtually featureless northern simple, the earlier, current and destiny develop 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 observe their power. during this easily written fantasy, Handke forcefully summons readers to the popularity that the essence of human existence lies within the striving for self-expression although its ideal awareness should always stay elusive.

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Extra resources for Absence

Sample text

Existence for me has never been more than a little while. There is no permanence in fulfillment, here or anywhere else. Places o f fulfillment have hurt me more than any others; I have com e to dread them. It’s no good getting used to staying in one place; wherever it is, fulfillm ent can ’t last. It loses its magic before you know it, and so does the place. It is not here. We are not there. So let’s get going. Away from here. Onward. ” T he garden has undergone a transformation while the swimmer was speaking.

As the train starts up again, the old man raises his surprisingly high voice in a chant, every word o f which can be heard above the hubbub: “ In the childhood o f peoples, unknown countries cam e into existence beyond the mountains and the oceans. They had names, but nobody knew where they were. Only their direction was more or less certain. The sources of the N ile were south, the Caucasus east, the leg­ endary Atlantis west, and Ultima T hule north. Then came trading ships and wars of conquest, then cam e history, and then— violently, by leaps and bounds— cam e the adulthood o f the peoples and it exploded the legends of childhood geography.

As soon as they get home, each one o f them, the giantess as well as the midget, will give herself to her com panion, and in their rooms the language o f union will prevail until nightfall. Moving slowly along the road, glassy-eyed in the light, they are making ready for the man who will becom e their husband in the darkened tent. The soldier is no longer standing by the memorial. Only his rifle is leaning against the pedestal. T he radio­ telephone is silent. His steel helmet is lying on the riverbank, half buried in sand, full o f egg-shaped pebbles and pinecones.

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