By Peter Handke
Translation through Ralph Manheim
The time is an unspecified modernity, where very likely Europe. Absence follows 4 anonymous humans -- the previous guy, the girl, the soldier, and the gambler -- as they trip to a desolate barren region past the boundaries of an unnamed city.
A very attention-grabbing Library magazine assessment, that still turns out a fan of my eventually Schopenhauerian view of library upkeep (however, its prejudice opposed to "slim volumes" is finally undeserved).
From Library Journal
Four characters, pointed out basically because the outdated guy, the girl, the Soldier, and the Gambler, shuttle to a distant desert bordering on an unnamed urban. Seasons switch in a single day, the outdated guy disappears, and the computing device he consists of looks to the soldier in a dream, yet regardless of evocative prose there's little course right here, in basic terms curious moments and a imprecise unease. Handke expects his readers to swallow every one descriptive aspect 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 narrow volumes), the protagonist's studies shed a few gentle at the book's name ( Afternoon of A author, LJ 9/1/89). Absence , unluckily, 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 up-to-date tough and worthwhile novel. The story's 4 anonymous protagonists meander via a surreally disconnected and flattened panorama. An outdated artist, a gambler blind to himself, a callow soldier whose self-effacing "absence" is a protection opposed to the area, and a useless girl whose frantic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 undeniable, the previous, current and destiny turn into one and the characters' insubstantial identities cave in into each other. but if they notice legible symbols within the surrounding blankness and skim them with conviction, the panorama springs into recognizable existence and the characters realize their energy. 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 even if its ideal consciousness should always stay elusive.
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Additional resources for Absence
It is most apparent in the young women, who are all wearing high-heeled boots and costumes with short, tight skirts, which shim mer as they pass; for them this is in part a festival o f the flesh. 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.
These eyes show that it is not he who is digesting the book but the book that is digesting him; little by little, he is passing into the book, until— his ears have visibly flattened— he vanishes into it and becomes all book. In the book it is broad daylight and a horseman is about to ford the Rio Grande. As he watches the reader, the old m an ’s face copies his expression. He too has becom e all book, almost transparent. T he mute hitchhiker has long been gone; the wrinkles in her seat have smoothed out; it is black night in the moving vehicle.
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. I say that today for the first time, and I’ve never heard anyone say it in earnest.