Synopses & Reviews
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.
After his mothers suicide, Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke wanted to set down what he knew, or could say, about her life and the causes of her death before the dull speechlessness ... the extreme speechlessness of grief took hold forever. The result is an unsparing, deeply moving elegy in which writing keeps vigil at the limits of language, understanding, and life. This is a haunting memoir of a family tragedy by one of the most acclaimed and controversial contemporary writers whose style has been compared to Flaubert, Hemingway, and DeLillo. Moving and beautifully realized. The New York Times Book Review