How is such a memoir at all possible? How did PH become the writer who could write a book of this kind? At this moment, it seems to me that only a writer who is capable of temporary self-erasure, momentary obliteration of self, of inhabiting the mind and body of his character could write a memoir that exhibits the power of "A Sorrow Beyond Dreams". And again, he says as much himself in an aside: "I am able to capture my mother's story The air in the darkness is so still that, losing their balance, torn from their moorings, the things of my world fly soundlessly about.
In another minute they will come crashing down from all direction and smother me. But then there are moments during which he evicts his mother from the mental and emotional space that he has allowed her to occupy, moments such as those he describes on pp.
And his mastery of language and form also evinces literary and critical capacities that shore up, buttress, perhaps constitute his defense of self, that brings him back to himself. So what sort of person could compose such a splendid narrative? And this is precisely the attribute of a writer that draws me again and again to literary biography in the hope of spending time in the company of such remarkable individuals, wondering all the while, exactly how and under what conditions these persons developed "an inviolable private sphere" Barish , an imaginative, inner life, in which the events that "A Sorrow" documents are possible.
I really must read this book in German. Feb 18, Cody rated it really liked it. Honestly didn't do all that much for me entirely to do with having just read the first of KOK's Struggle cycle. That said, I can see how it would for many.
That THAT said, it is objectively tremendous as a novel. I got nothing. Although: do separate the art from the artist when within reason. Handke is associated with being a holocaust-denier. In case you didn't know, it isn't the Holocaust of Hitler's Reich. Mea culpa: I didn't know this, and it had informed my avoi Meh. Mea culpa: I didn't know this, and it had informed my avoidance for years. Neither attacking nor supporting, just pointing out that such easily-traded 'tidbits' are often the tippy-tips of big icebergs.
I restate: not inherently to do with Handke. Likely more my incurable necrophilia. Aug 20, Omama. Story of a life. Real, complicated, raw. Dull speechlessness, horror, nothingness, deprivation of sensibility, sinking emotions, decay, collapse. The worthlessness of life. Dreams gone sour. One would emerge out of it, drained and aching. Oct 25, Farhan Khalid rated it really liked it Shelves: nobel , european , memoir.
She wanted to learn In the end it became an obsession with her But it was out of the question, dismissed with a wave of the hand, unthinkable At the age of fifteen or sixteen my mother ran away from home to learn cooking City life: short skirts, high-heeled shoes, unclouded joy of life On 10 April, , the Yes to Germany! The rhythm became an existential ritual The community comes first You were at home wherever you went; no more homesickness There was so much going on that it became possible to FORGET something She was determined never to give up that vague pride That period helped my mother to come out of her shell and become independent People identify more readily with formulations than with recorded facts Does this explain the need for poetry?
For my mother the war was not a childhood nightmare It was contact with a fabulous world And in the same light, her first love: a German party member She was soon in the family way And yet, twenty years later, she still longed to feel for someone what she had then felt for that man But there never was ANOTHER Everything in her life had conspired to inculcate a kind of love that remains fixated on a particular irreplaceable object She sensed that she was only a half. Oct 15, Jimmy rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , male , nyrb , barthelme-syllabus , austria , years.
This book really didn't work beyond the beginning pages. And yet it wasn't bad. The writing was not engaging enough, the biographical style he chose "after that, she did this You can tell that Handke was conscious of this too, putting in things that broke from the pattern, even a whole page meta-talking about why he decided to write it in this boring style!
The book fails in some interesting ways. I feel like Handke never had a good sense of what he wa This book really didn't work beyond the beginning pages. I feel like Handke never had a good sense of what he wanted to do with the subject matter.
As for the story itself, it was okay; I was especially struck by some of the insights about about her mother growing up towards the beginning. I also admire his sincerity. An existence so incoherent that it arouses an incomprehensible horror so deadening that leaves the afflicted too numb for terror or dread.
The paradoxical wisdom of a suicide what is learned from an experience that erases all knowledge that nonetheless teaches as if it has already passed : death is a drawn-out atrophy of life that can begin and complete long before the afflicted ceases to live. An important story about a woman who went through so much in life that she saw her escape only in suicide. However, the writing style was so chaotic that I was questioning whether I'm even reading in my native tongue which I was.
Jun 28, Ipsita rated it it was amazing Shelves: austria. From personal experience, I can absolutely understand the need and the mindset of Peter Handke in writing this masterpiece. To me, this was not a book with long sad proclamations enunciating the grieving process.
Rather, it is the subtext and all the words left unsaid between the sentences where the true fears and grief of the author manifest and expound upon. His mothe From personal experience, I can absolutely understand the need and the mindset of Peter Handke in writing this masterpiece. Before becoming a mother, she was a girl, a woman with distant dreams and aspirations.
The only thing that was clear to her muddled and unformed ideology then was the fact that she was more than this; this caricature that the society demanded of her. Later on, when she does indeed become a mother, this individuality conflicts against the genetic programming of maternal instincts that has driven evolution since time immemorial.
Does that mean she was a bad mother? How do we even judge someone about whom we know nothing about which is always the case? Do we even have a right to judge anyone because despite all our proclamations and preaching about judgements, all of us are prone to categorise and judge others, no matter what?
Life goes on for her. Somewhere down the line, she sees the futility of her own existence. This is evident when she develops a taste for literature later on when the author shares books with her. The last part of the novella memoir? It is perhaps the saddest truth of life that when you lose someone you loved, you lose your ability to express your loss. Sure, you can cry, remain silent, fight or be numb - however, these are just the faint echoes of a realisation that the grief of your loss can never be fully expressed, even to you.
It reminded me of a line in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle wherein a girl asks the protagonist about how different life would be if there was no death. How different, indeed. My sense of horror makes me feel better: at last my boredom is gone; an unresisting body, no more exhausting distances, a painless passage of time.
The worst thing right now would be sympathy, expressed in a word or even a glance. I would turn away or cut the sympathiser short, because I need the feeling that what I am going through is incomprehensible and incommunicable; only then does the horror seem meaningful and real. If anyone talks to me about it, the boredom comes back, and everything is unreal again. Seldom: desireless and somehow happy; usually: desireless and a little unhappy.
She was; she became; she became nothing. The danger of all these abstractions and formulations is of course that they tend to become independent. It generated over 25 million organic views. Apart from being one of the most watched web series of the year.
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