By Peter Handke
Translation via Ralph Manheim
The time is an unspecified modernity, where in all probability Europe. Absence follows 4 anonymous humans -- the previous guy, the lady, the soldier, and the gambler -- as they trip to a desolate wilderness past the boundaries of an unnamed city.
A very fascinating Library magazine overview, 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Four characters, pointed out merely because the outdated guy, the girl, the Soldier, and the Gambler, trip to a distant desert bordering on an unnamed urban. Seasons swap in a single day, the outdated guy disappears, and the computer he consists of appears to be like to the soldier in a dream, yet regardless of evocative prose there's little course the following, in simple terms curious moments and a imprecise unease. Handke expects his readers to swallow every 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 should always now not overrate those slender volumes), the protagonist's reports shed a few mild at the book's name ( Afternoon of A author, LJ 9/1/89). Absence , unluckily, is totally actual 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 newest hard and profitable novel. The story's 4 anonymous protagonists meander via a surreally disconnected and flattened panorama. An previous artist, a gambler blind to himself, a callow soldier whose self-effacing "absence" is a security opposed to the realm, and a useless lady 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 realize legible symbols within the surrounding blankness and browse them with conviction, the panorama springs into recognizable lifestyles and the characters notice their power. during this easily written delusion, Handke forcefully summons readers to the popularity that the essence of human lifestyles lies within the striving for self-expression even if its excellent recognition should always stay elusive.
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Extra resources for Absence
I usually took the train, never one that was going very far, always a local; no matter where it was going, I never bought a return ticket. W hat did I do when I arrived there? They told me I just sat around in the waiting room at the last stop or on the loading platform, and sometimes at the edge o f a field, in a gravel pit, or by the side o f a brook, regardless of the season. People began to notice me because o f the way I’d sit there for hours— before that, when I was wandering around, it seems I walked like someone who knew his way and was going somewhere.
On all sides A B S E N C E : 2 1 o f the table, running toward the middle, innumerable fin gerprints. Even after standing up, the gambler does not leave at once, but lifts the curtain a little. He looks out into the faint early light and sees a bus loop on the edge of the city— shim m ering pre-dawn wires; milk bottles singly or in pairs on the doorsteps o f uniform housing-development dwellings. T he gambler seems to find no difficulty in passing from one sphere to another. After a brief look back at the black ventilator hole with its fluttering slats, he turns unhesitat ingly to face the long, articulated bus whose support bars, as it drives empty into the loop, glitter like an army o f spears.
Convinced that this was their last fellow passenger, the woman— who has also turned toward the window by now— reaches for the door handle. T he old m an restrains her with a quick shake of A B S E N C E : 4 2 his head. A far from empty train, coming in the opposite direction, stops on the other track, and a group of screaming schoolchildren com es trooping down the center aisle. As the train starts up again, the old man raises his surprisingly high voice in a chant, every word o f which can be heard above the hubbub: “ In the childhood o f peoples, unknown countries cam e into existence beyond the mountains and the oceans.
Absence by Peter Handke