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On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House

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3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
A short, powerful new novel by one of the greatest writers in the German language.
On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House is Peter Handke's evocative, moving, often fantastic, novel about one man's conflict with himself and his journey toward resolution. During one night shift, an unnamed, middle-aged pharmacist in Taxham, an isolated suburb of Salzburg, tells his story to
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Hardcover, 186 pages
Published November 8th 2000 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mariel
Dec 13, 2013 Mariel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the sparrow's niche in the hole in the wall
Recommended to Mariel by: a letter sewn into the lining
"But who else is supposed to get to read the story?" I asked.
"After all, what kind of storytelling do we have nowadays- not in the marketplace, not at the royal court, not for a middle class, not even addressed to an individual- merely for the person to whom the story happened, himself?"
He responded, "Perhaps precisely this is the original form of storytelling? This is how it first began?"


It might just be the me that I am right now. I liked parts of this book very much, in a kind of distance of
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Greg
Aug 03, 2009 Greg rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I bet creative writing teachers jizz themselves over this densely packed little story overflowing with symbolism and tone. I on the other hand seemed to enjoy it slightly better than most of the reviews here on goodreads, but still not that much, but I want to like it more and I think maybe reading it a second time might make the dreamlike logic in the story make more sense. Or maybe not.
Philippe Malzieu
Aug 25, 2014 Philippe Malzieu rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time, a pharmacist of Salzburg who had decided to leave.

He walks and his way will carry him until Spain. Dream, oniric visions, true travel, difficult to be sure.Wandering theme is frequent in Handke's books.

Then we can see the things superficially. The meetings return to his past, anecdotes speaks about his life. The style is splendid. It is poetry in prose with a great purity. Thus initiatory travel with resulting whose the pharmacist will return alleviated. End of History.

Bla-bla
...more
Stephen Durrant
Jun 25, 2009 Stephen Durrant rated it liked it
Some praise the Austrian Peter Handke (b. 1942) as one of the greatest living writers. I'm yet to be convinced despite admiring the non-fiction account of his mother's life and suicide, "A Sorrow Beyond Dreams" (see earlier review). The slender novel under review here traces the strange adventures of a pharmacist, trapped in a conventional and unhappy life, who gets hit over he head, loses his ability to speak, and then wanders into a strange, surrealistic land. Haunted and pursued by a ...more
Ian
Oct 02, 2013 Ian rated it liked it
On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House is another exquisitely enigmatic and thought-provoking novel from Austrian fiction writer and playwright Peter Handke, who has written many works dissecting man's relationship with his surroundings and reshaping the writer's relationship with language and meaning. In this novel an unnamed pharmacist living in Taxham--an undistinguished enclave outside Salzburg--seems to be a spectator of his own life, which revolves around his pharmacy and the time he ...more
Ideath
Aug 17, 2009 Ideath rated it liked it
Somehow i didn't like this as much as the first time i read it, but it still made me want to go for a long wordless walk across a mythic and forbidding steppe.
Matt
Jul 05, 2009 Matt rated it liked it
I liked this but don't know quite what to make of it-- a middle aged man leaves his house and goes off on a strange adventure that sees him repeatedly assaulted, attending a festival across the border with a poet and olympic skier, and then wandering off on his own.

It's a meditation of the postmodern sort, and there's a spare lyricism to the prose. I sort of get it, that the book is about spandrels (a word this book taught me) and liminal spaced between curves. But some of the story beats left m
...more
Kristian
Mar 16, 2014 Kristian rated it liked it
Shelves: owns, fiction
A strange, but rewarding book. I must admit I had hoped for a few more obvious/explicit conclusions towards the end, but the book's meditative style did plenty for me in terms of being just that - a meditation.
Abraham
Aug 20, 2008 Abraham rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Where, exactly, did he think he was going with this? The book was like a dream without particularly moving symbols and no discernable plot. The kind of dream you don't bother telling your therapist. The kind of dream you stop reading halfway through.
Eugene
Jul 29, 2009 Eugene rated it it was ok
the good and bad of murk: indeterminacy. a long dream tale here reveals little but has very good bits. still, how frustrating it is to wait for the cloud to resolve into an image. or an emotion.

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Avant-garde Austrian novelist and playwright. His body of work has been awarded numerous literary prizes.
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