Author bio

Author Image

Peter Handke - book author

Peter Handke is an Avant-garde Austrian novelist and playwright. His body of work has been awarded numerous literary prizes, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019. He has also collaborated with director Wim Wenders, writing the script for The Wrong Move and co-writing the screenplay for Wings of Desire.

Peter Handke is the author of books: A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, Short Letter, Long Farewell, The Left-Handed Woman, Kaspar and Other Plays, The Afternoon of a Writer, Publikumsbeschimpfung und andere Sprechstücke, On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House, Slow Homecoming, The Weight of the World

Author Signature

Author Books

#
Title
Description
01
Peter Handke's mother was an invisible woman. Throughout her life, which spanned the Nazi era, the war, and the postwar consumer economy, she struggled to maintain appearances, only to arrive at a terrible recognition: "I'm not human any more." Not long after, she killed herself with an overdose of sleeping pills.

In A Sorrow Beyond Dreams her son sits down to record what he knows, or thinks he knows, about his mother's life and death before, in his words, "the dull speechlessness—the extreme speechlessness" of grief takes hold forever. And yet the experience of speechlessness, as it marks both suffering and love, lies at the heart of Handke's brief but unforgettable elegy. This austere, scrupulous, and deeply moving book is one of the finest achievements of a great contemporary writer.
02
The first of Peter Handke's novels to be published in English, The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is a true modern classic that "portrays the breakdown of a murderer in ways that recall Camus's The Stranger" (Richard Locke, The New York Times). The self-destruction of a soccer goalie turned construction worker who wanders aimlessly around a stifling Austrian border town after pursuing and then murdering, almost unthinkingly, a female movie cashier is mirrored by his use of direct, sometimes fractured prose that conveys "at its best a seamless blend of lyricism and horror seen in the runes of a disintegrating world" (Bill Marx, Boston Sunday Globe).
03
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.
04
Peter Handke tells the story of a woman determined to break with her husband and her past and to form a new life for herself. Marianne, a mother and hausfrau in her thirtieth year, begins to examine her life keeping house in the suburbs of a large industrial city in West Germany.
05
This play 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.

06
A visit to the city's outskirts, a stolen newspaper, narrow alleyways, and an open field are the elements of a writer's afternoon. As the nameless writer confronts his fears, he goes on with his life in one of the most original and provocative works from a contemporary writer.
07
Diese drei Stücke ohne Handlung, ohne Szenenbilder und ohne Requisiten sind Sprechstücke, die, nach den Klangelementen der Beatmusik gebaut, die Sprache selbst zum Inhalt machen, es sind Versuche, auf dem Theater Wirklichkeit durch Sprache zurückzugewinnen. Sie bedienen sich der natürlichen Äußerungsform der Beschimpfung, der Selbstbezichtigung, der Beichte, der Aussage, der Frage, der Rechtfertigung, der Ausrede, der Weissagung, der Hilferufe. Dabei zerstört der Autor den Illusionscharakter auch des modernen Theaterstücks: die Spieler sind die Beobachter, das Publikum ist das Thema. Indem Handke das Theater aufhebt, macht er neues Theater.
08
A short, powerful new novel by one of the greatest writers in the German language.
On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House is Peter Handke's evocative, moving, often fantastic, 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.
10
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.