A Sorrow Beyond Dreams
In A Sorrow Beyond Dreams her son sits down to record ...more
The writing ...more
It is a difficult proposition to write a memoir about the death of one’s mother, and that too when she commits suicide at the age of 51 ( I have a somber association with that number as my mother too passed away at that age) . A Sorrow beyond dreams is Handke's poignant account of his mother's life and death. Prosaic, poetic, elliptical and self-conscious, it is an exacting picture of the shock and grief that await those who have inherited the ruins of a suicide. Rarely in recent y ...more
Briefly: In Jeffrey Eugenides introduction, readers are told, “In fact, German has two words for self-slaughter: Selbstmord, which is roughly equivalent to the English “suicide” and Freitod, which means literally “free death,” and possesses a certain brave, even heroic, connotation.” This puts me in mind of the character of Jessie in Marsha Norman’s unforgettable play, 'night, Mother, a play everyone should see, or read, or watch the Cissy Spacek/Anne Bancroft film. Both the play and Handke’s brief account of his mother...more
"And so she was nothing and never would be anything, it was so obvious that there was no need of a forecast. She already said, "in my day," though sh ...more
I didn’t intend on reading this book now, especially since I just finished Handke's Short Letter, Long Farewell. However, as I arranged my books and thumbed through the first few page ...more
The relationship of Life to Death is that of Music to Silence; how can we write about the difference between the silence before a note, and the silence that follows?
The Death of the Mother. This is a hackneyed ...more
A teenage boy gives his mother the books he's been reading - novels by Hamsun, Dostoevsky, Faulkner - and she absorbs them with enthusiasm. For the first time in her life she learns to express herself in words. However,
Literature didn't teach her to start thinking of herself but showed her it was too late for that.
A gain in freedom, or even happiness, may ultimately leave you standing face to face with that thing you were successfully able to avoid fo/>Literature ...more
He talks of the family and community into which she was born ...more
I don't believe that all books can be reviewed in words, nor do I believe that all should...
When you read a book and the words simultaneously seep into your "everything" inside and it confronts and confounds you on every page, that is all I believe needs to be said.
How to explain the agonizing disintegration of a life?
The gradual decay of whatever we humans possess that gives us a conscience? The notion of being?
Handke’s memoir on the suicide of his mother is not what you expect.
Dismiss all idea of long-winded paragraphs recreating the suffocation of being a faceless, nameless woman drowned in sq ...more
This is an astonishing book. I recommend getting an early-edition hardcover, because the dust flap has an affecting picture of Handke. He would have been thirty. He looks up with a helpless expression, his mouth slightly open. Bright lights reflect off his thick glasses. He has a sparse moustache and a Beatles haircut. He looks completely lost.
I don't think that photo is on the internet, but it's been painted (badly) for the cover of "Three By Peter Hand ...more
The book is a memoir of another sad little round of life, and the cover, a photograph by James Casebere called "A Barrel Vaulted Room," is a good match for it. I’m afraid you can’t apprec ...more
Despite the potential of the plot and its minefield of emotions I found it difficult to connect with this piece, not looking forward to Handke's promise to write about this again "in greater detail,' because for reasons I could not fathom (or could it be th ...more
There is in this book, of course, the outlines of his mother's story, which he narrates in a form that to my mind suggests a writer's journal. And he says as much: "Someday I shall ...more
Peter Handke tells the life story of his mother who grew up in Austria, came of age in Germany between the Great War and World War II, and committed suicide in her early fifties.
In the beginning he us ...more
But mostly it is a book about grief. The reader is constantly reminded that this is not so much a biography of his mother as it is a way to deal with his loss, to t ...more
Here are lines I liked:
"What she said about books could not have been put into print; she merely told me what had particularly caught her attention. 'I'm not like that,' she sometimes said, as though the author had written about HER. To her, every book was an account of her own life, and in r ...more
I had better get to work before the need to write about her
I fall back into the dull speechlessness with which I reacted to the news of her suicide
The worst thing right now would be sympathy, expressed in a word or even a glance
What I am going through is incomprehensible and incommunicable
In my mother’s purse I found a copy of her will
My mother being born more than fifty years ago in the same village whe ...more