On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House by Peter Handke

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Synopsis

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 a narrator. The pharmacist is known and well-respected, but lonely and estranged from his wife. He feels most comfortable wandering about in nature, collecting and eating hallucinogenic mushrooms. One day he receives a blow to the head that leaves him unable to speak, and the narrative is transformed from ironic description into a collection of sensual impressions, observations and reflections. The pharmacist, who is now called the driver, sets out on a quest, travelling into the Alps with two companions--a former Olympic skiing champion and a formerly famous poet--where he is beaten and later stalked by a woman. He drives through a tunnel and has a premonition of death, then finds himself in a surreal, foreign land. In a final series of bizarre, cathartic events, the driver regains his speech and is taken back to his pharmacy--back to his former life, but forever changed. A powerful, poetic exploration of language, longing and dislocation in the human experience, On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House reveals Handke at his magical best.
 

About Peter Handke

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Peter Handke was born in Griffen, Austria in 1942. His many works include The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (FSG, 1972), A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (FSG, 1975), Slow Homecoming (FSG, 1985), Absence (FSG, 1990), The Jukebox and Other Essays on Storytelling (FSG, 1994), and most recently, My Year in the No-Man's-Bay (FSG, 1998).
 
Published November 8, 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 186 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House

Kirkus Reviews

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In the Austrian postmodernist’s latest metafiction (My Year in the No-Man’s-Bay, 1998, etc.), an unnamed narrator retells a story told to him by a disoriented pharmacist: of marital and familial estrangement, a journey to a remote Alpine location accompanied by a poet and a former champion skier ...

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Publishers Weekly

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With his protagonist's muteness keeping psychology at a distance, Handke (My Year in the No-Man's Bay, etc.) slips in and out of naturalism, satire, fable and allegory, strewing the book with fragments of fine writing as he follows the pharmacist across a dislocated European landscape.

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