By Peter Handke
Translation through Ralph Manheim
The time is an unspecified modernity, where almost certainly Europe. Absence follows 4 anonymous humans -- the outdated guy, the girl, the soldier, and the gambler -- as they trip to a desolate desert past the boundaries of an unnamed city.
A very attention-grabbing Library magazine evaluation, 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Four characters, pointed out simply because the outdated guy, the lady, the Soldier, and the Gambler, shuttle to a distant desolate tract bordering on an unnamed urban. Seasons switch in a single day, the previous guy disappears, and the laptop he incorporates appears to be like to the soldier in a dream, yet regardless of evocative prose there's little course right here, merely curious moments and a imprecise unease. Handke expects his readers to swallow each one descriptive element during this interminable trip, even if it merits curiosity--or has any significance--or no longer. In his final novella (at simply over a hundred pages we must always no longer overrate those slender volumes), the protagonist's stories shed a few gentle at the book's name ( Afternoon of A author, LJ 9/1/89). Absence , regrettably, is totally precise 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 up-to-date demanding and lucrative novel. The story's 4 anonymous protagonists meander via a surreally disconnected and flattened panorama. An previous artist, a gambler unaware of himself, a callow soldier whose self-effacing "absence" is a security opposed to the realm, 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 detect their power. during this easily written delusion, Handke forcefully summons readers to the popularity that the essence of human existence lies within the striving for self-expression even if its excellent consciousness should always stay elusive.
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Additional info for Absence
Pocket mirror in hand, the young woman stops freshening her lipstick. Further speech seems unauthorized for the present. T he silence adds to their contentment. Only the woman looks questioningly from one to the other; she is the only one of the four whose face is not turned toward the window. Outside, there has been a quick succession of short tunnels and viaducts. Then, though there has been no noticeable change in the vegetation or the shapes o f the houses, the light seems different, perhaps because the view o f the sky is less obstructed.
Deluge. ou trigh t. He starts to run, punching him self in the head, sticking a finger down his throat to no effect, or bending the sam e finger, holding it up to his temple, A B S E N C E : 2 2 and going through the motions of shooting him self over and over again. O nce he even turns off his path and casually rams his forehead against a tree trunk. At the end of the track, through a strip of tall grass, whose blades seem to bar the way like swords, the gambler enters an open field of rubble, almost without vegetation, surrounded on all sides by bushes and looking like a disk inserted in the meadows on the edge of the city.
I say that today for the first time, and I’ve never heard anyone say it in earnest. Begin a new life. But if I only say it to myself, I don’t mean it. Nobody hears the things I say to myself, so they don’t count. Love. I’ll take time and let m yself be diverted by love. Give me the saving grief that will finally tell me which way to go. Inflict it on me. N o longer will the steel pen get stuck between my ribs. Renew the wound each day, dearest, my one and only, whether man or woman. Reject me if need be, but tell me why; scorn m e, mock me, make me open up and cease to be alone.