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Don Juan: His Own Versionby Peter Handke
Synopses & Reviews
Peter Handke, a giant of Austrian literature, has produced decades of fiction, poetry, and drama informed by some of the most tumultuous events in modern history. But even as these events shaped his work, the presence of his mother—a woman whose life spanned the Weimar Republic, both world wars, and the postwar consumer economy—loomed even larger.
In Storm Still, Handke’s most recent work, he returns to the land of his birth, the Austrian province of Carinthia. There on the Jaunfeld, the plain at the center of Austria’s Slovenian settlement, the dead and the living of a family meet and talk. Composed as a series of monologues, Storm Still chronicles both the battle of the Slovene minority against Nazism and their love of the land. Presenting a panorama that extends back to the author’s bitter roots in the region, Storm Still blends penetrating prose and poetic drama to explore Handke’s personal history, taking up themes from his earlier books and revisiting some of their characters. In this book, the times of conflict and peace, war and prewar, and even the seasons themselves shift and overlap. And the fate of an orchard comes to stand for the fate of a people.
“Numerous pleasures await the reader who delves into the fabric of Peter Handke’s prose. . . A subtle writer of unostentatious delicacy, Handke excels at fiction that, as it grows, coils around itself like wisteria. . . This is where the French New Novel might have gone if pushed.”—Paul West, Washington Post Book World
A MODERN MASTERS WRY AND ENTERTAINING TAKE ON HISTORYS BEST-KNOWN LOVER
In Don Juan, Peter Handke offers his take on the famous seducer. Don Juans story—“his own version”—is filtered through the consciousness of an anonymous narrator, a failed innkeeper and chef, into whose solitude Don Juan bursts one day. On each day of the week that follows, Don Juan describes the adventures he experienced on that same day a week earlier. The adventures are erotic, but Handkes Don Juan is more pursued than pursuer. What makes his accounts riveting are the remarkable evocations of places and people, and the nature of his narration. This is, above all, a book about storytelling and its ability to burst the ordinary boundaries of time and space.
In this brief and wry volume, Handke conjures images and depicts the subtleties of human interaction with an unforgettable vividness. Along the way, he offers a sharp commentary on many features of contemporary life.
About the Author
PETER HANDKE was born in Griffen, Austria, in 1942. His many works include The Goalies Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, My Year in No-Mans Bay, On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House, and Crossing the Sierra de Gredos, all published by FSG.
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