By Peter Handke
Translation through Ralph Manheim
The time is an unspecified modernity, where very likely Europe. Absence follows 4 anonymous humans -- the outdated guy, the girl, the soldier, and the gambler -- as they trip to a desolate desolate tract past the bounds of an unnamed city.
A very fascinating Library magazine evaluate, that still turns out a fan of my eventually Schopenhauerian view of library maintenance (however, its prejudice opposed to "slim volumes" is finally undeserved).
From Library Journal
Four characters, pointed out merely because the previous guy, the lady, the Soldier, and the Gambler, shuttle to a distant desert bordering on an unnamed urban. Seasons swap in a single day, the outdated guy disappears, and the workstation he contains looks to the soldier in a dream, yet regardless of evocative prose there's little path right here, merely curious moments and a obscure unease. Handke expects his readers to swallow each one descriptive aspect during this interminable trip, no matter if it merits curiosity--or has any significance--or now not. In his final novella (at simply over a hundred pages we must always no longer overrate those narrow volumes), the protagonist's reports shed a few mild at the book's identify ( Afternoon of A author, LJ 9/1/89). Absence , lamentably, 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 modern not easy 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 safeguard 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 simple, the prior, current and destiny develop into one and the characters' insubstantial identities cave in into each other. but if they discover legible symbols within the surrounding blankness and browse them with conviction, the panorama springs into recognizable existence and the characters realize their power. during this easily written myth, Handke forcefully summons readers to the popularity that the essence of human existence lies within the striving for self-expression although its ideal cognizance should always stay elusive.
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Additional resources for Absence
T he lamp sheds a tent-shaped light that makes the book appear transparent. For a moment it seems A B S E N C E : 5 3 as though something is happening even without the reader. But the reader, sitting there so quietly, has his hands full, moving the magnifying glass from line to line and holding the heavy battery, which he hefts like a stone. He doesn’t even get around to turning the pages, the first page keeps him busy enough; each sentence takes time, and after each sentence he has to take a deep breath in preparation for the next.
He passes young soldiers like him self com ing from the opposite direction, all carrying identical A B S E N C E : 2 9 plastic bags, on their way back to the barracks from the supermarket; though few are engaged in conversation, none notices him. Two girls, walking arm in arm as though for protection, also look through him, as if they had eyes only for the exit. He stops once, takes the dagger from his felt boot, and scrapes away a tiny inscription, almost obscured by the grooves in the concrete, from the wall o f the tunnel; after that, no longer in a hurry, he takes his book from his hip pocket and, now striding straight ahead, immerses him self in it.
Though I was standing there bare legged in an institutional gown, for them I was a heroine. And it’s true that, though actually I wasn’t so very well off, I was better off than those people, who thought they were well off. O ne o f you was there, too, as a visiting student. He only attended my demonstration because he thought I was the kind o f person that moved him. ” Som ething of hers falls on the floor. T he soldier bends down. It is a fountain pen with a mother-of-pearl cap. As he turns it slowly in his hand, the light from outside seems to shine through the cap.
Absence by Peter Handke