The Franz Kafka Prize

2009 - Peter Handke

Born: 6 December 1942, Griffen, Austria

Author's quote: "Tense, unnerved, and close to madness before writing—and when I read what I’ve written it looks so calm."

Field: Playwright

Prize share: 1/1

Books Written By Peter Handke

Peter Handke; born 6 December 1942 is an Austrian novelist, playwright and political activist. His body of work has been awarded numerous literary prizes. His writings about the Yugoslav Wars and subsequent NATO bombing of Yugoslavia with criticism of the Western position and his speech at the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic have caused controversy.

Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke earned an early reputation as avant-garde for his plays Offending the Audience and Kaspar. As a novelist his work focuses on portrayals of characters in extreme states of mind, such as The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick and The Left-Handed Woman. He has drawn criticism in the West for his pro-Serbian views during the Kosovo conflict.


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

By A Customer

The editorial review here is pretty accurate, insofar as summations can ever do justice to a Handke novel, which rely little on plot or human characterization for their power. The novel really takes off when Handke puts his protagonist on the "steppes"--which turn out to be the plains of north-central Spain--and has him explore and experience himself in nature. Readers who liked "My Year in the No-Man's Bay" or "Weight of the World" will like this; here are long passages equally evocative and magical. Undoubtedly there are significances here that literati will find resonant, and perhaps metaphorical parallels that students of European politics will identify, but as an exploration into consciousness, into human interactions with nature and time and memory, this small novel delivers an experience that is very satisfying indeed.


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

By T. Steve Hull

This is the first book by handke that I have read or even known about. I picked it out totally by accident. I enjoy this style of writing though it is not for everyone. I will certainly seek out other work by him. The main character is a very lonesome type of individual and the mushroom fetish is perfect to compliment his personality. The landscaping and dreamscaping is super as well as the interplay between the travelling characters. Needless to say this is probably a novel that few people are familiar with but I for one am glad to have happened upon such a gifted writer. Translation from German makes it even better.