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The Moravian Night: A Story

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  118 ratings  ·  23 reviews
An odyssey through the mind and memory of a washed-up writer, from one of Europe's most provocative novelists

Mysteriously summoned to a houseboat on the Morava river, a few friends, associates, and collaborators of a former writer gather to hear him tell a story that will last until dawn: the tale of the once well-known writer's odyssey across Europe. As his story unwinds,
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 6th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2008)
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ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos)
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
As with all of Handke's novels, this is not a book for dilettantes. The reader must be ready to be immersed.

Peter Handke wants to be read slowly. He wants the reader to engage and ask questions: questions about the characters and questions about the world; questions about politics and questions about Peter Handke, and he doesn't always supply an answer, nor even a hint of an answer. Some of these questions the reader must answer for herself.

A "former writer" summons a group of "friends,
Robert Wechsler
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: german-lit
A remarkable work, characterized by rational language and grammar that is used in nonrational ways. Everything makes a sort of sense, but the sorts vary widely. Nothing is stable, including the narrator and the greater and lesser plots. The somewhat abstract nature of this novel makes it difficult to describe, but it works most of the time (only rarely, especially toward the end, the novel dragged a bit here and there). The reward for letting oneself go with the novel is a reading experience ...more
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Handke is mistreated by his American reviewers. Adam Kirsch's review in the NYRB is basically libelous and gives no evidence that Kirsch read the book. Joshua Cohen's in the NYTBR is better - Cohen is the last honest book reviewer around these days, so he actually read the thing (and probably in German) - but misunderstands Handke's Serbian project. Still, Cohen begrudgingly admits that he likes the book.

I need to read it again, but I think The Moravian Night might be the best novel of our young
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a rather difficult book to read, in style, structure and sequence. Although the storyline hangs on a retired writer’s journey through his past stomping grounds back to his family home, it looked like a self-indulgent romp in time and memory by Peter Handke with nary a care for the reader, as if “through his writing he could re-order time according to his own pace and escape reality.”

In summary, a retired writer (Handke?) summons a group of loyal friends to his boat house on the Morava
the other person...merely offered him a pretext to utter out loud the conversation he had been having with himself for decades. p295

If we consider the other person to be us, the readers, and the conversation is written down, than indeed we can feel somewhat justified in feeling that this is more a monologue than a novel. Is the narrator, identified as a former writer, having us on?

Destinies, characters, actions: not for him. p298

And yet: treading carefully through the passages of this book,
Johann Guenther
HANDKE, Peter: „Die morawische Nacht“, Erzählung, Frankfurt 2009
Eine Gruppe von Menschen trafen sich in der Nacht auf einem Hausboot auf dem Fluss Morawa. Der Bootsbesitzer war quer - er sagte "Zick Zack" - durch Europa gereist. Er nannte sie "Rund-und-Zickzackreise" (Seite 316) In einer Nacht auf dem Fluss Morawa auf dem Boot erzählte er seine Erlebnisse.
Während der Reise zog es ihn in sein Geburtsland Österreich hin, obwohl er das nicht "Heimat" nannte. Als Heimat bezeichnete er den Balkan. Da
Vincent Blok
De proclamatie van exterritorialiteit versus het dissidentendom van de dichter (Nacht op de rivier, Peter Handke)
Nacht op de rivier gaat over een voormalig schrijver die op zijn woonboot een verhaal vertelt over zijn omzwervingen door Europa. Wat het vertellen van de ex-schrijver aan de praat krijgt is de ervaring van gevaar, die de luisteraars doet verstommen en de verteller doet fluisteren op hun tocht over de rivier de Morava. Dit gevaar bestaat erin dat de verteller een exterritorialiteit
Thirty years ago, I can honestly say that I was in love with Handke's stories. For whatever reason, I hadn't read anything by him for a long, long time but when I saw a review of this book, I was determined to read it. To say that it is a novel about a journey is true but it doesn't really give a fair indication as to what Handke's book is 'about'. It is also 'about' writers and their audiences, the author's suspicions regarding language, and, most importantly perhaps, 'Central Europe.' What ...more
Anne Cupero
Aug 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Oh my lord. This book took several hours of my life that I will never get back. If I didn't believe in finishing every book, I would never have done this one. At first, the premis was fascinating. A group of people get called to a houseboat in the middle of the night to hear a story. But then it was a stream of consciousness, was it real? Wasn't it real? Was there a woman? Wasn't there a woman? And so forth. Until the end of the book. I did not enjoy this book one bit, maybe it was just me, but ...more
Cosmo Crawley
The Moravian Night is the semi-autobiographical story of the Former Writer (also frequently called The Wanderer) who invites a small band of acolytes to his houseboat where he spends a night telling them about his recent journey through Europe which was also a journey of self-discovery. I can’t say that I’ve ever read a work by Peter Handke that I’ve enjoyed but this one is better than most, if only for a strain of self-deprecating humour and sharp satire which I haven’t come across in his work ...more
A writer, once the icon of his country but now rarely recognized, hosts a gathering on his houseboat on the Moravian River. One by one almost furtively, guests arrive, including a woman who has pursued him throughout his recent travels.

He recounts traveling through places that had been important in his life and career, including his boyhood home where his brother, much changed, still lives.

The woman appears at almost every destination – sometimes benign, sometimes beloved, sometimes evil.

Elibardo Villegas
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Difficult reading to follow. The main character, the writer, tells his story to a group of friends about his life and the round trip he took from the banks of the Moravian river to his birthplace, and while sharing his experiences and vicissitudes , he confuses reality with a surreal events, blurring the line between real and fictional.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'd rather pick up a book on modern and contemporary European history. Those who look for entertainment stay away from this book. It's almost plotless and characterless. You have to force yourself through the book.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, german, fiction
I really wanted to finish this one, for the sake of reading something different. But 200 pages in, I had to admit to myself that, interesting use of the German language aside, I didn't take anything from it yet and that my reluctance to pick it up was not without reason.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning and fantastic book for thinking people.
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
a wonderful book, to read slowly and treasure. 4.5
Margaret Ullman
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Only serious readers. It's a long, complicated read. Difficult to summarize. A sort if stream of consciousness. The final 4 chapters are worth it.
Bart Martens
Paar pagina’s, 40 of wat, niet verder gelezen. Beetje saai naar mijn smaak.
Glenn Roberts
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
If you read enough, eventually you run into a book that you just can't get a hold of. Handke's The Moravan Night is that for me. I managed 200 pages but could go no further. A few years ago I read his My Year in the No-Man's-Bay and remember that it was difficult but fathomable.

This book is the story of a retired writer who gathers a group of friends on his boat and proceeds to tell them a night-long story. My best guess is that this is all his imagination and he is revisiting the stories and
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
As Handke's first American translator [Kaspar & Other Plays;, etc etc] MORAWIAN AND TODAY IS HIS 74TH BIRTHDAY,!! AND THE PUBLICATION DAY IN THE USA

NIGHT is my second favorite of all his books - the most favored being, Die Geschichte des Bleistifts], translated into French and Spanish, but not into English; an immensely rich diary and work book. MORAWIAN NIGHT, too, touches on numerous matters, yet is a magnificent narrative collage & invention
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Aug 11, 2016
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Frederic Dern
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Dec 03, 2014
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Feb 03, 2017
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May 26, 2018
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Dec 14, 2013
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May 10, 2013
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Mar 18, 2018
Fred Whitlock
rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2016
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Peter Handke is an Avant-garde Austrian novelist and playwright. His body of work has been awarded numerous literary prizes, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019. He has also collaborated with director Wim Wenders, writing the script for The Wrong Move and co-writing the screenplay for Wings of Desire.