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Friday, May 28, 2010

MY YEAR IN THE NO-MAN'S BAY / NIEMANDSBUCH [T] Peter Hamm, Michael Roloff

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First a fine Peter Hamm piece, then a A LONG PIECE OF MINE... TO WHICH I WILL ADD SOME SHORTER PERTINENT ONES...


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Peter Hamm

Die Einfrauexpedition zum Eintagsvolk
zu Peter Handkes neuem Roman
=Auf Verwandlungen geht unsere tiefste Lust'
Hugo von Hofmannsthal



Die Buecher Peter Handkes werden fast alle bestimmt von zwei nur scheinbar
gegenlaeufigen Bewegungen: die hin zum Aufbruch - und die hin zur Heimkehr.
Langsame Heimkehr - so der Titel des Romans, der Handkes Wende vom
kritischen Sprachspieler zum Kundschafter der sichtbaren Welt markiert - ist
bei ihm Ziel jeden Aufbruchs. Anders als die beruehmten Reisenden der
Weltliteratur, den Don Quijote einmal ausgenommen, sind die reisenden
Protagonisten der Romane Peter Handkes weniger Abenteurer als Tagtraeumer,
die gegen die Trugbilder einer sich als Wirklichkeit aufspielenden
gesellschaftlichen Welt die Bilder - Gegenbilder - einer eigentlichen Welt
freiphantasieren und dabei immer auch ein neues Bild von sich selbst zu
gewinnen suchen. Was sie als Abenteuer erleben, sind nicht die Katastrophen
und Alptraeume einer der Willkuer der Geschichte ausgelieferten Gesellschaft
als vielmehr die alltaegliche Lebenswelt des je einzelnen Menschen. Diese
Lebenswelt gilt ihnen als eine Art Gegengeschichte, die fuer sie, je mehr sie
das Unscheinbare im alltaeglichen Ablauf als das Ewige entdecken, ebenso zu
einer metaphysischen Erfahrung werden kann wie die Vertiefung in die Natur
und deren Gesetzmaessigkeiten. Hier wird ihnen das zuteil, was sie so
auffallend unterscheidet vom Gros der zeitgenoessischen Romanhelden, naemlich
eine an Goethe gemahnende Seinsfroemmigkeit.
Mit dem von ihm als =mein Held= apostrophierten Goethe verbindet Peter
Handke nicht nur das Naturverstaendnis - der Naturglaube -, sondern
darueberhinaus der heftige Harmonisierungswille. So unmoeglich es ihm ist, vor
dem Elend der Welt die Augen zu verschliessen, so strikt verbietet er sich,
schreibend =einen Elendsblick auf die Welt zu werfen=. Selbst noch Handkes
Beschreibungen seiner beiden Reisen durch das von der Nato bekriegte
=Rest-Rest-Jugoslawien=, die dem Abweichler vom hiesigen Unisono-Chor der
selbstgerechten Schuldzuweiser so viel Haeme, Hohn, ja Hass eintrugen, sind
ohne diesen Hintergrund ueberhaupt nicht zu verstehen. Auch dort war Peter
Handke nicht als selbsternannter Geschichts- oder Politexperte unterwegs,
sondern als ein auch in der groessten Bedrueckung beharrlich die
gegengeschichtlichen Lebenswelten aufspuerender Schriftsteller, der eben
diese und nicht ein politisches System bedroht sah. Auch dort ging es ihm -
in seinen eigenen Worten - um =jenes Dritte, welches bei dem deutschen
Epiker Hermann Lenz nebendraussen zu sehen oder sichten ist=, um friedliche
Gegenbilder zu den gemachten und gelenkten Medienbildern.
Eine Reise beschreibt auch Peter Handkes neuer grossmaechtig verzweigter Roman
=Der Bildverlust=. Wenn diese auch nicht ins ehemalige Jugoslawien, sondern
in die spanische Sierra de Gredos fuehrt, und wenn dazuhin nicht Peter Handke
selbst oder irgendein alter ego von ihm diese Reise unternimmt, sondern eine
Frau, genau eine =Bankfrau=, so haben sich doch jene Erfahrungen, die Handke
im zerbombten =Bruderkriegsland= Jugoslawien machte, und ebenso jene, die er
mit der Niedertracht machen musste, die ihm nach Publikation seiner
Jugoslawien-Aufzeichnungen entgegenschlug, tief eingegraben in dieses oft
beaengstigend bittere, dann wieder ironisch verwegen verspielte und zuletzt
doch wunderbar beguetigende Buch, das einmal vielleicht als Peter Handkes
Krieg und Frieden gelten wird. Oder doch eher als sein Don Quijote?
=Der Bildverlust=: diesen Titel hatte Handke schon fuer ein frueheres Buch
vorgesehen, wie er in seinem 1994 erschienenen Roman =Mein Jahr in der
Niemandsbucht= verriet (mit dem malizioesen Zusatz, sein Verleger habe ihm
diesen Titel als zu wenig verkaufstraechtig ausgeredet). Dort war auch
bereits die Rede von jenen =beheimatenden Bildern=, in die sich der
Ich-Erzaehler immer dann, wenn ihm etwas bedrohlich wurde, Zuflucht suchend
rettete - in die er =verschwand=. Unter den Bedrohungen, denen Peter Handke
sich - und eben nicht nur sich, sondern unsere Welt, unsere
Lebenswelten - ausgesetzt sah, als er 1999 im Krieg zweimal Jugoslawien
durchquerte, wollten sich diese beheimatenden Bilder bei ihm nicht oder fast
nicht mehr einstellen, und er erfuhr dort - in seinen unter dem Titel =Unter
Traenen fragend= veroeffentlichten =nachtraeglichen Aufzeichnungen von zwei
Jugoslawien-Durchquerungen= hat er davon bewegend berichtet - jenen
Bildverlust, den jetzt auch die Heldin - Heldin? - seines neuen Romans zu
erleiden fuerchtet. Unter dem sintflutartigen Andrang =allgegenwaertiger
Kauf-, Veranstaltungs-, Ereignis- und sonstigen Reiz-Bilder= und dem der
serienmaessig fabrizierten Droh- und Schreckensbilder haben auch fuer sie diese
anderen, beheimatenden Bilder ihre Kraft als Gegenbilder fast eingebuesst, und
sie glaubt, den drohenden Bildverlust nur abwenden zu koennen durch einen
Ausbruch aus ihrer gewohnten Geschaefts- und Geldwelt und den Aufbruch zu
einer Reise - sie nennt sie auch, Expedition - in jene Sierra de Gredos, die
sie schon bei frueheren Reisen als besonders bildergesaettigt und
bilderauffrischend kennengelernt hat.
Doch was sind ueberhaupt diese beheimatenden Bilder, =Bilderfunken= oder
=Bilderblitze=, die diese Bankfrau, ganz metiergerecht, auch als ihr
=Kapital= bezeichnet? Es sind die wie aus Zeit- und Raumferne kommenden oder
Zeit und Raum aufhebenden, eher beilaeufig aufgenommenen Bilder aus der
Kindheit und Jugend, aus der Natur, dem Alltag oder von Reisen, aus Buechern
auch, keine Traum- oder Nachtbilder der Regression also, sondern Tagbilder,
die unser Innen und Aussen verbinden zu etwas Groesserem, Bestaendigen, Bilder
nicht als Abbilder, sondern als Inbilder, die in ihrer Summe unser
eigentliches Weltbild ausmachen und dabei die Kontinuitaet der Welt
voraussetzen und fortsetzen. In Peter Handkes Worten: =Die Bilder als die
Weltbestandsschleppe, ueber die ganze Erde streifend und sie, die kleinsten
Orte und Winkel, belebend=. Weltliche Epiphanien koennte man sie auch nennen,
jedenfalls die noetige Nahrung fuer unsere welterweiternden Tagtraeume ebenso
wie fuer unsere Augenblicke vollkommener Weltvergessenheit.
Wer aber ist sie, die namenlose Bankfrau aus der ebenso namenlosen
=nordwestlichen Hafenstadt= (es koennte, laut Autor, auch eine Flusshafenstadt
sein wie Basel, Koeln, Rouen, Newcastle oder Passau)? Geboren in einem
ostdeutschen Dorf, mit slawischen und arabischen Vorfahren (!), die ihr
freilich nur umrisshaft vertraut sind, hatte sie als Waise ein engeres
Verhaeltnis zu Tieren als zu Nachbarn und lebte in der =fast alleinigen
Gesellschaft der Dinge= - und der Buecher. Wir duerfen uns sie, deren
Schoenheit so oft betont wird, als eher androgynes Geschoepf denken, wozu
passt, dass sie kurzzeitig auch eine Art Filmstar war, bevor sie dann ins
Bankfach wechselte und damit zu einer Taetigkeit, bei der ihr ihre angeborene
Begeisterungsgabe und -bereitschaft allmaehlich abhanden kam und zu =blosser
Geistesgegenwart= wurde - =und selbst die Geistesgegenwart zuletzt verdraengt
von nichts als Lauern= in einem Milieu, wo =jeder vom anderen und vor allem
von der anderen den Nackenschlag erwartete=.
Obwohl - oder weil? - sie ausserhalb ihrer Bankgeschaefte fast nur mit Leuten,
die kein Geld besitzen, Umgang pflegt, darunter etwa mit dem
=Stadtrandidioten=, hat sie viele Feinde, und von einem erfaehrt sie die
Feindschaft in der vielleicht schlimmsten Form: in der Liebe. Sie aber liebt
in einer Zeit, in der das Wort Liebe inflationaer wie nie zuvor geworden ist,
niemanden oder nur - nur? - ein Bild von der Liebe - und dabei gibt es fuer
sie keinen Moment ohne Begehren. =Sie war klar ohne Liebhaber=, heisst es von
ihr, und wirkte doch staendig und gewaltig geliebt, leuchtend vor
Geliebtsein, Geliebtwordensein=. Versteht sich, dass sie ihre =laengst auf und
davon gegangene Tochter= Lubna liebt, doch als sie noch mit dieser
zusammenlebte, konnte sie diese Liebe nur dergestalt aeussern, dass sie ihr
Kind unentwegt retten wollte vor lauter eingebildeten Gefahren, was das
Zusammenleben, bei fehlendem Vater, oft dramatisch machte. Auf ihrer Reise,
bei der sie sich =zurueckverwandelt in die Abenteuerin, die sie schon immer
gewesen war=, moechte sie auch das Bild dieses Kindes wiederfinden, mit dem
sie schwanger ging bei ihrer ersten Wanderung durch die Sierra de Gredos.
=Gaebe ich mein Kind, gaebe ich meine Verschollene auf, so gaebe ich auch die
Welt auf=, erklaert sie dem Autor, den sie angeheuert hat, ihre Geschichte -
nicht die ihrer Karriere, sondern die ihrer Reise und ihrer Verwandlungen
auf dieser Reise - aufzuschreiben. Denn sie ist keineswegs selbst die
Erzaehlerin, sondern sie ist der Geist der Erzaehlung und als dieser zugleich
eine allegorische Figur und eine ganz leibhaftige Frau.
Zu Beginn mutet ihre winterliche Reise so alptraumhaft an wie die Welt, aus
der sie gerade kommt, mit stundenlangen Staus und Umleitungen unterwegs,
Krieg im Radio und Bombengeschwadern in der Luft. Nuevo Bazar, die erste
Reise-Station (wo es noch eine letzte Filiale ihrer Bank gibt, die sie
freilich meidet) ist der Inbegriff aller Unorte und allen Unheils unserer
Welt. Hier, wo es kein richtiges Tageslicht, sondern nur noch Kunstlicht
gibt, fast jedes Haus ein musikberieseltes Kauf- oder Lagerhaus ist und
nicht die Wechsler aus dem Tempel getrieben werden, sondern =der einzige
noch geltende Tempel jener der Wechsler ist=, begegnen sich alle
gleichermassen mit Misstrauen und Verdaechtigungen und es treffen hier
aufeinander =Erb-Hass, Erb-Ekel, Erb-Wut gegen alles und jedes=. Die
Volksvertreter treten als =Wortkriegsfuehrer= auf und auf allen
Fernsehkanaelen werden Mord- und Totschlag live uebertragen. Hier,
=zweitausend Lichtjahre weg von daheim und von der Liebe=, erfaehrt unsere
Abenteuerin ihre erste Verwandlung: die Verwandlung in einen Menschen, der
fuer einmal =fremd und niemand mehr= ist und gerade dadurch frei, von einer
anderen, einer =groesseren Zeit= zu traeumen und von einer Erzaehlung davon, die
=der Epoche zuwiderlaeuft=.
Als sie nach einer mit Schlafwandeln verbrachten Nacht (aufgewacht ist sie
in ihrer Massenherberge in den Armen des jungen Maedchens aus der
nachbarlichen Schlafkoje) am naechsten Morgen ihren Landrover zertruemmert und
ausgebrannt vorfindet, ist ihr das keine Anzeige wert, sondern nur ein
=Recht so!= Bald erlebt sie als Passagierin eines UEberlandbusses, dessen
Fahrgaeste ihr, der einstigen Doerflerin, seltsam vertraut und gleichsam als
eine Art =Friedenstruppe= vorkommen, ihre naechste Verwandlung: die einer
fast mystischen, dabei keineswegs unkomischen Einswerdung mit diesen
Mitreisenden, die alle durch die gemeinsamen Sinneseindruecke auf der Fahrt
durch die der Sierra vorgelagerte Ebene von Polvereda =fuer einander offen
und durchlaessig= geworden sind. =Eine war hochschwanger, und ich mit ihr...
einmal erbrach ich mich, nein, das war eines der Kinder im stark
geschuettelten Heck... allesamt bluteten wir aus den Nasen, auch wenn nur ein
einziger blutete=. So erzaehlt sie spaeter ihrem Autor von dieser Verwandlung,
und der bemerkt: =Sie erzaehlte weiter, mit einer Stimme, die immer weniger
die einer Frau war, sondern die von Frau, Mann, Kind und Greis(in), von jung
und alt in einem=.
Analog zu dieser Verwandlung verwischen sich jetzt Raum und Zeit immer mehr.
Einmal bei einem Zwischenhalt wird der kranke Karl V. auf einer Saenfte
vorbeigetragen (freilich koennte es sich auch um den traditionellen
alljaehrlich Nachvollzug der letzten Reise des Kaisers handeln), dann kreuzt
ein mittelalterlicher Steinmetz den Weg, und an den Waenden der Ruinen, von
denen die Landschaft ebenso uebersaet ist wie von Kadavern, finden sich
hebraeische, kyrillische, armenische und arabische Inschriften. Nein, in eine
zeitlose Idylle fuehrt diese Reise nicht. Auch die Natur zeigt ueberall
grauenvolle Verwuestungen und immer wieder wird das Bild dieser friedlichen
Reisegesellschaft von Bildern des Unfriedens und Schreckens - Tiefflieger,
bauchlastige Hubschrauber - bedroht, schlaegt das neu gewonnene Daseinsgefuehl
unserer Bankfrau jaeh in Todesangst um.
Als der Sierra-Bus, der zugleich fahrende Leihbibliothek ist, bei einem
Zwischenaufenthalt von lauter Buecherhungrigen heimgesucht wird, sind das
nicht die erwarteten laendlichen Hausfrauen oder Jugendlichen, sondern =eher
staedtische, ja hauptstaedtische Gestalten=, auch wenn sie Kaftane, Saris,
Fez, Burnusse oder Turban tragen. Es sind Vorboten jenes Volks von
Seltsamlingen, das bald in Pedrada und Hondareda - =in den Eingeweiden der
Sierra de Gredos= (Cervantes) - fuer eine naechste Verwandlung unserer
bilderhungrigen Reisenden sorgen wird.
Pedrada hat keine AEhnlichkeit mehr mit dem Ort, den sie von frueher zu kennen
glaubte. Statt eines Hotels erwartet sie dort eine Zeltsiedlung mit offenen
Feuern um die Zelte und von Generatoren erzeugtes Kunstlicht nur in den
Zelten. An der Nachtmahltafel des riesigen Herbergszelts trifft sie unter
den dutzend Gaesten nicht nur eine beruehmte Illustrierten-Autorin (die jetzt
aber ohne Handy, ja ohne jedes Gepaeck unterwegs ist, =um das Sprechen und
ueberhaupt die Sprachen zu verlernen=), auch Karl V. ist da (und tut sich nun
als Saenger hervor) und da ist der mittelalterliche Steinmetz (der als
Fussgaenger offenbar rascher vorankam als ihr Bus), in dem sie das Bild ihres
geliebten Bruders zu erkennen glaubt. Dieser Bruder, wiewohl =das Muster
eines Kontaktmenschen=, dem alle Frauen verfielen, sah sich seit jeher als
=ein Feind des Menschengeschlechts=, und jetzt, gerade aus dem Gefaengnis
entlassen, wo er als =Terrorist= einsass, reist er, parallel zur Reise seiner
Schwester, nachhause in sein Land im Osten, das es eigentlich gar nicht mehr
gibt, fuer das er aber sogar einen Mord auf sich zu nehmen bereit ist. Wie
der Don Quijote ist Handkes Roman reich an Neben- und Zwischengeschichten
wie etwa dieser vom Bruder, der noch nicht weiss, was seine Schwester schon
weiss, dass naemlich =zur Buch-Zeit gegen nichts und fuer nichts ein Kaempfen
mehr moeglich war=.
Unter den dutzend Abendmahl-Gaesten findet sich auch einer in der Rolle des
Judas. Es ist der =vom Weltrat oder sonstwem geschickte offizielle
Beobachter=, ein smarter Typ mit Pferdeschwanz (der ihm spaeter, von wem
wohl?, abgeschnitten wird), =mit einer wie jahrelang an Mikrophonen und in
Radiostudios geschulten Stimme= und stets voll auf der Hoehe der Geschichte
und des Zeitgeists. Es war ein genialer Einfall von Peter Handke, dass er
jenes Volk von Aussteigern oder Ausgestossenen, das seine Buchheldin in
Pedrada und am naechsten Tag bei ihrem Fussmarsch durch die Sierra in der
grossen Talsenke von Hondareda erlebt, vornehmlich aus der Perspektive dieses
Rationalisten= und =Realisten= also ex negativo beschreiben laesst.
Fuer ihn mit seinem =immer gleichbleibenden, keine Miene verziehenden
Laecheln, fuer das er in der ganzen zivilisierten Welt bekannt war=, sind die
aus allen Welt- und Sprachgegenden hierher Versprengten durchwegs
Unzivilisierte, Zukurzgekommene, hoffnungslose Sektierer, antriebslos und
apathisch, dem =unproduktiven Traum von einer verkehrten Welt= nachhaengend,
kurz =ein Schandfleck in dem sonst ueberall endlich den zeitgenoessischen
Kriterien genuegenden Erdatlas=. Ihr =unvergleichlicher Atavismus= zeigt sich
ihm in ihrer voelligen Uninformiertheit, wissen doch diese =Barfussgeher=, die
=in Verschlaegen, Steinhoehlen und Erdgruben hausen wie die ersten oder die
letzten Menschen=, noch nicht einmal, =dass inzwischen der Eiffelturm
bombardiert wurde= (geschrieben vor dem 11. September 2001!), kennen sie
doch nur =muendliche Nachrichtenweitergabe nach der Messe, der Sabbatfeier
oder dem Freitagsgebet in der Moschee=. Als ebenso atavistisch brandmarkt er
nicht nur ihren Verzicht auf den bargeldlosen Zahlungsverkehr und jedes
Bankwesen - allen Ernstes betrachten sie =den Tau als ihr Hauptkapital=! -,
sondern auch ihre Berufung auf ein nie aufgeschriebenes
=Nachbarschaftsrecht=, ihr =Gesetz der guten Nachrede= oder ihre ihm voellig
uebertrieben scheinende Gastfreundschaft, von der er doch selbst profitiert,
auch wenn er diesen Leuten hier im uebrigen gaenzlich gleichgueltig ist und ihn
nicht einmal die Tiere der Beachtung wert finden.
Was der offizielle Beobachter dieser =Rueckfall- oder Robinson-Rotte= sonst
noch ankreidet sind neben ihrem Gutmenschgehabe und ihrer Selbstgenuegsamkeit
(Konsumverzicht!) ihre Muessiggeherei - =Grillenhoerengehen= gehoert zu ihren
Lieblingsbeschaeftigungen -, ihre Taenze (=samt Jauchzen, Fussaufstampfen und
Ringelreihen=) sowie das =Fehlen der erotischen Kultur (jedenfalls in der
OEffentlichkeit)=. Am meisten aber empoert ihn, in dessen Drohwoerter-Katalog
nur noch das Wort =Fundamentalismus= fehlt, dass diese =Neuwilden unter der
Hand etwas zurueck in unsere Welt schwindeln moechten, das darin seit
Jahrhunderten nichts mehr zu sagen, zu deuten und zu bestellen hat: den
Mythos - den Mythos von einem, der auszog, um eine Fassung zu gewinnen, und
derart eine neue, in Wahrheit laengst verjaehrte Ritterschaft propagierte.=
An dieser Stelle nun bringt Peter Handke explizit Cervantes ins Spiel. So
wie dessen Don Quijote Einspruch war sowohl gegen die verlogenen
Ritterromane seiner Zeit wie gegen die brutale Wirklichkeit dieser Zeit
selbst, wird hier Peter Handkes Roman zum Einspruch nicht nur gegen die
gleichmacherischen (globalisierenden) Tendenzen der =Wirklichkeitsmenschen=
(Hermann Lenz) unserer Zeit, sondern zum Einspruch gegen eine unentwegt als
aktuell auftrumpfende, vornehmlich aber auf Knalleffekte spezialisierte
Gegenwartsliteratur, die glaubt, ohne Mythos - ohne Maerchen oder
Metamorphose - auskommen zu koennen. Durch Metamorphose - eine Verwandlung
durch Entrueckung - hat Cervantes seinen Don Quijote die schrecklichen
Pruegel, die er von den Wirklichkeitsmenschen seiner Zeit bezog, vergessen
lassen und ihm ein Hoechstmass an Glueckserfuellung in seinem Kampf fuer das Edle
und Gute gewaehrt - und erst an seiner =Heilung vom Don Quijotismus= (die
seine Art des Bildverlusts bedeutete) ist dieser weltfremde, weltbewegende
Ritter von der traurigen Gestalt schliesslich gestorben.
Wie Handke selbst, der im Roman =Die Niemandsbucht= bekannte, er fuehle sich
zu den Gescheiterten und Versagern seit jeher schon hingezogen - so als
seien sie die Richtigen=, erkennt auch seine Bankfrau in dem vom offiziellen
Beobachter so geschmaehten Volk der Verlierer die fuer sie Richtigen. Dass sie
sich von einer Bankfrau in eine Exbankfrau verwandelt, die hier in der
Sierra de Gredos dem Bankwesen, das ihr =nicht erst seit heute boese krank=
erscheint, ebenso abschwoert wie jedem anderen Macht- und Erfolgsspiel,
verdankt sie diesem - wie sie es nennt - =Volk der UEberlebenden=. Und in ihm
sieht sie vor allem lauter Einzelne. Ob das der fruehere Richter ist (der in
einer Welt, wo sich jeder zum Richter - Weltenrichter - aufwirft, nie mehr
urteilen und schon gar nicht mehr verurteilen will), ein vor seiner Familie
geflohener Missionar oder der vor der Langeweile geflohene Gesteinsforscher,
die =abgedankte Wirtschaftskoenigin= oder der abgedankte Koenig (dessen
=Palast= jetzt ein =Teil des Steinchaos= ist wie die Mehrzahl der uebrigen
Bauten, =womoeglich noch niedriger, schraeger und schlupfwinkelhafter=). Durch
sie alle, von denen Handke so witzige wie zart melancholische Portraets
zeichnet, wird seine Sierra-Reisende wieder zu einer Staunenden, die ihre
Kindlichkeit wiederfindet und damit das, was Goethe =kindlich -
unueberwindlich= nannte.
Es ist ein =Staunen ueber nichts und wieder nichts=, das ihr ermoeglicht
schlechthin alles und zumal die Naturerscheinungen ereignishaft zu sehen
(=auch wenn sich nichts ereignete als das Bergangehen, das Wehen der Luft
und das Blauen des Himmels=). Und was fuer ein Ereignis, was fuer ein Staunen,
wenn die von Handke auch gern und ueberhaupt nicht abschaetzig =Idiotin=
genannte Exbankfrau in den Gestalten der grossen Gletscherspalte von
Hondareda nicht nur den =Stadtrandidioten= ihrer Flusshafenstadt, sondern
ploetzlich viele vertraute Gesichter entdeckt, darunter auch das ihres nun
nicht mehr mordgierigen Bruders! Und sind da nicht auch einige jener
=Geldmaechtigen= zu sehen, die schon seit jeher, =kaum waren sie ihren
Tempeln entronnen, zu hintergedankenfreien Bergsteigern, Kajakfahrern,
Gaertnern, Liebhabern= wurden? Selbst der offizielle Berichterstatter ist
inzwischen als ein offenbar Verwandelter oder Bekehrter hier angelangt; noch
waehrend er seine Schmaehschrift gegen die =Hondareda-Idioten= verfasst und
sie als =Weltgefahr= hinstellt, ist er ihrer Art der Anschauung verfallen
und verfallen erst recht dem =entwaffnenden Blick= dieser seltsamen Heiligen
und ritterlichen Frau, der er sich nun am liebsten als =Knappe= anschliessen
wuerde.
Auf dem Weg zu =ihrem= Autor in seinem Manchadorf, mit dem ihre langsame
Heimkehr beginnt, als sich ihr beim Abschiedsblick auf die Talsiedlung von
Hondareda diese zu einer Millionenstadt wie Sao Paulo oder Shanghai weitet,
und waehrend noch einmal ein wahrer Bilder-Regen auf sie niedergeht, entdeckt
sie dann, dass sie fast ein Jahr lang in der Sierra de Gredos unterwegs war.
Oder ist sie womoeglich ueberhaupt nie fortgewesen, so wie ihre Tochter, die
sie bei einem Anruf zuhause am Apparat hoert, vielleicht auch nie wirklich
verschwunden war, sondern nur - nur? - das Bild von ihr? War diese ganze
Reise nur Einbildung, das Volk von Hondareda nur ein Eintagvolk, nur ein
Tagtraum, eine Phantasie? Als ob ohne Einbildungskraft - und das heisst
doch ohne die Kraft der Bilder - auch nur ein einziger Tag zu ueberstehen
waere!
=Phantasie: Krone der Vernunft=: so emphatisch feiert Peter Handke auf der
vorletzten Seite seines Buches das, was seine Protagonisten seit jeher zum
Aufbruch und ihn zum Erzaehlen davon brachte und beim Erzaehlen davon leitete.
Diesmal also dem Erzaehlen eines ebenso phantastischen wie vernuenftigen,
ebenso duesteren wie lichten Maerchens, das zwischen schlimmster Bedrueckung
und schoenstem UEbermut kuehn balanciert und in seiner Bilder- und Weltfuelle,
seinem literarischen und philosophischen Anspielungsreichtum und seinen
tollen Stilspruengen beim ersten Lesen kaum zu erfassen ist, - als blosses
=Lesefutter= ohnehin so wenig taugt wie als =Filmvorlage=. Ein Maerchen, das
wie die vollkommene Einloesung einer Goethe-Maxime wirkt: =Verweile nicht und
sei dir selbst ein Traum, / Und wie du reisest, danke jedem Raum, / Bequeme
dich dem Heissen wie dem Kalten, / Dir wird die Welt, du wirst ihr nie
veralten!=
Ein Meisterwerk? Peter Handke, der derartige Etikette wenig schaetzt, hat in
einem Gespraech ueber Emmanuel Bove betont, man duerfe =nie zu meisterlich
werden=, sondern muesse =immer suchen, immer ein Anfaenger bleiben=. Zu
solchem Suchen gehoert beim Wagnis des Erzaehlens wie beim Wagnis der Liebe
stets das Zagen, die Unsicherheit. Es sind die vielen zaghaften Momente im
Roman =Der Bildverlust=, die denen des verwegen phantasierenden Zupackens
erst ihr ganzes Gewicht geben und dem Ganzen seine unverwechselbare
Handkesche Aura. Wenn in deutscher Sprache noch Weltliteratur geschrieben
wird, dann sieht sie so aus wie die von Peter Handke.

Peter Handke: Der Bildverlust oder Durch die Sierra de Gredos. Roman.
Suhrkamp Verlag Frankfurt am Main 2002. 760 Seiten.

zurueck 



WEAVING A HANDKE CARPET by Michael RoloffThe first person narrator of the 250,000 word 1045 page 200 words per page marathon text My Year in the Nomans Bay [FN-1] that Peter Handke composed in 1993, the familiar Handke reader discovers with some initial surprise, is the same Austrian but now ex-cultural attache Gregor Keuschnig [A] who entered the world of literary personae as the suicidal protagonist of Handke s third person novel A Moment of True Feeling [FN-2] in 1974. Born into the world with the sentence Who has ever dreamed that he has become a murderer and from then on has only been carrying on with his usual life for the sake of appearances, Keuschnig, older by fifteen years, reprieves this event by stating that:

There was one time in my life when I experienced metamorphosis. Up to that point it had been only a word to me, and when it began, not gradually, but abruptly, I thought at first it meant the end of me. It seemed to be a death sentence. Suddenly the place where I had been was occupied not by a human being but by some kind of scum Part of me was numb. The other part carried on with the day as though nothing were amiss.

A schizzie third person protagonist himself yet kept close at nicely dissociated phenomenological distance at his first coming, Keuschnig, as the reader discovers, has been resuscitated as a tri-angulated narrator; first, and most interestingly and convincingly in the way we are ordinarily convinced, least-impersonated-seeming, very singular, writing-in-the-.
[A] Nomansbay [Niemandsbucht], a play on the words Buch, Bucht, book, bight, bay, refugio, safe haven, flotsam receptacle, reiterates the nie-mand [no-one as which the ambiguously grandiose narrator of The Afternoon of a Writer [1987, FN-3] presents himself as feeling at the end of that wounding day in the mid 80s as he drifts off to sleep on his so recuperative dream screen. - Keuschnig is something of a joke about Handke s origins in rural Austro-Slovenian environs, Cottager Hardy might have called him; the keusch may also allude to the fact that, back in the 70s, our attache a rural Taoist as Ernst Bloch might describe his current incarnation, was nig = un? chaste; I used to be un hommes de femmes, K/H acknowledges in Nomansbay. - The first written, public evidence for the given name Gregor as being Handke s preferred self-identification is his detailed notation, in a letter written, aged twelve, to his mother, of a deeply longing dream to become her deceased Slovenian war-letter-family-heirloom-writing brother [FN-4], an acquisition of the compromise of the avunculate position within the oedipal drama as it were. Two deceased uncles, one of them a Gregor, figures just as longingly in Handke s first novel, the so suppositional Die Hornissen [1966, FN-5] and, as poet/writer, Gregor recounts the magnificent dramatic poem Walk About the Villages [1982, FN-6]; in other words, as personae, Keuschnig and Gregor, are cut very close to the cloth of the being of Peter Handke, as are a number of his other veiled, fractionalized personae since and before: the geologist Sorger of A Slow Homecoming [1979, FN-6] the tresholdeler and archeologist Loser of Across [1984, FN-7], as well as Handke s Slovenian alter ego Filip [the horse thief] Kobal, whom Handke nearly had the temerity to call Gregor Kobal after the irredentist 18th century Slovenian freedom fighter of that name. The impersonated, imagined pasts in Nomansbay, which entertain certain paths not, or nearly, taken by Peter Handke, among other services that they provide, of course also do breathing and playing room, at least for the writer s imagination.


here-and-now-of-the-reading-of-the-textwriter presence as K/H [I designate him] Keuschnig-Handke; second, as K/A for the trained cultural ex-attache [a not entirely sinecure that the legally trained Peter Handke would have pursued had he not had early luck as a writer]; and third, as K/W for the Keuschnig with a second, writer s past subsequent to his having left the Austrian Foreign Service and prior, that is, to the writing of his No-Man s-Book.
The K/H, K/A, K/W agglomerate proceeds to explore the theme of transformation in Handke s now characteristic, gradualist, formalist, doubling fashion, which invariably iterates a theme twice so as to be able to explore it to a musically necessary perfectionist hilt, if not surfeit. Thereupon the narrator expresses the wish for a second metamorphosis, preferably gentler than the first, and this reminds us that in the hoary 70s Keuschnig came out of the vengeful turning against his self [B] at the moment that he happened on the epiphanic image of a lock of hair, a brooch, and a mirror, a compound to which complicitous reference is made in Nomansbay, and which is the moment to which the title A.M.T.F. refers, from dissociation into oneness, a breakout from alexithimia into emotionality one could call it too, which would bear substantial fruit in Handke s work in the four works that comprise his Homecoming Cycle, [FN-8] and from which substantial changes of all kinds [B] would flow forever after. Thus, though Keuschnig initially cites only the divisive shock of the first transformation, in fact two very different kinds of metamorphoses occurred in his past.
Nor ought it go unsaid, in sketching this background, that parallel to that crisis-ridden mid-70s Paris period [C] Handke, under his own name, instant-notated the so revelatory exhibitionistic naked ego novel-diary Weight of the World [1976, FN-9]. W.O.W. provides the interior spontaneous dimension to the reportorially more distanced A.M.T.F., and by the end of the nausea, I must change my life inducing W.O.W. that Nietzchean weight with which the book presses down on you lifted off this reader s being, as it does in many other Handke books, as it did off the author s heart too perhaps, at least for a while. W.O.W s contains the potential for an Ulysses-like exploration of interiority, that is if Handke had not been living as a misanthropic foreigner in Paris. Simultaneously with A.M.T.F. and W.O.W. Handke also composed the three long, narrative poems in Nonsense and Happiness [1975, FN-10]
On a cold, indescribable day,/ when it does not want to become dark and not bright, the eyes neither want to open nor shut/ and familiar sights don t remind you/ of your old familiarity with the worldÃÆ’¢â‚¬Â¦ -if only the eyes would close/ -if you could only squint at such moments, soothe the nausea in the eyeballs / - and it would just be MOMENTS (after which you could sigh)-/ but not this TIMELESS, EMPTIED-OUT, SPEECHLESS, FUTURE-REPRESSING, INANIMATE, SENSELESS HUMBUG/ IRREMOVALBE FROM THE ZENITH, SCRATCHING YOUR SOUL FROM YOUR BODY/ - Someone has stopped on the street/ and cannot go on: not only he has

stopped, everything else has too..[Nonsense & Happiness] For days I was beside myself/ and yet as/ I wanted to be./ I ate little/ talked just to myself -/needless with happiness/ unapproachable so full of curiosity/ selfless/ and self-confident/ in one/ the self-confidence/ as the INMOST/ of the self-lessness/ I/ as inspired machine. /Everything happened by chance: /that a bus stopped/ and that I got on/ that I rode my ticket s worth/ that I walked through the streetsBlue Poem]
[B] The crisis, its inception the suicide of Handke s mother in 1971 whose most unhappy life he recounted mourningly in Sorrow Beyond Dreams, FN-11], was augmented shortly thereafter by a wife disparu making Handke house sitter of a young girl child. According to Klaus Peymann, Handke s friend and the director of the premiere of most of his plays, at the news of his wife s leaving Handke first swallowed a handful of pills, which he then spat out. The Weight of the World recounts a related incident of tachychardia, which led to a brief hospitalization; in W.O.W. Handke notes: I tried making an effort to think of one nice thing about L. [FN-12].
N&H adds a poetic dimension to the writer s problematics which near-simultaneously widen [B] mytho-poetically into the novella and film The Lefthanded Woman [1976, FN-13]. Together these various works show Handke s First Paris Period and Handke/ Keuschnig s state of mind at that time to be amply and precisely documented from a variety of his own perspectives - the self-monitoring immediacy of W.O.W. continues to manifests itself in Nomansbay as K/H and his seven friends [as compared to the K/A & K/W s memoir-chronicling] note or have their state of mind noted during the writing of the now-and-then in the bight and of during their perambulations; or rather: Handke s Innerworld Outerworld Innerworld [FN-15] procedure finds the equivalent for his to employ a concept that may help refine the use of the notion of the objective correlative - self-states.
QUOTES
Moreover, Nomansbay also reprieves the Lefthanded Woman s move out of A.MT.F. s and W.OW. s faubourg basement apartment into the Clamart/Meudon escarpment that overlooks Paris [She was thirty years old and lived in a terraced development of bungalows on the south slope of a piedmont, a touch above the smog of a large city [E]. However, not until Nomansbay does Keuschnig complete this move, but there in far greater detail than was needed by the Lefthanded Woman s initially vaguer, tentative yet decisive leave-taking into openness. Handke revisits in passionate [write only with passion] and convincing detail the initial discovery of the astonishing, easily overlooked hatch through the thicket that fifteen years hence becomes the route from L.H.W. into the no-man s-bay wilderness, which is how the reader will experience H/K s rendition of his experience of this cluttered, forested, hilly region with some suburban fingers reaching into it. The prose text that Handke s wrote immediately prior to Nomansbay, its most proximate literary and also most proximate localized link in time to it, is the 25,000-word trial run for and inverse to the 250,000 would-be masterpiece, Assaying of the Day that Went Well.
Day, which announced that our man was back in town [FN-16], appears to circle Paris as it seems to search for a place to rest as it downshifts the circular contemplative exploration of its theme, tightening the syntactic reins on the narrative machine, and ends on a note of stasis; Nomansbay, developing out of a single variation on the theme of transformation, formally the obverse of Day, is demarcated within a widely walkable of course also linguistic territory, the trial run Day becoming in Nomansbay as expansive and ultimately multi-dimensional a universe as a consistently linear verbal carpet weaver who refuses the depths of Joycean punning can make it before the fairy tale gradually resolves itself. However, in closing the circle  Lefthanded Woman the end of the 70s series, Assaying of the Day to the other of Nomansbay - Handke, if he were using the Keuschnig personae to write his biography, scotomizes the various emotional, intellectual and physical movements that he in fact, as well as the two other Keuschnigs somewhat more theoretically so one would presume, all made before coming full circle. For if we pursue the course of Handke s books and the various stand-ins for his person who are its protagonists and unroll the transformations, crises, whatever that they have undergone, say, in reverse order, from Day [1991] to the Spanish Soria and Linares of The Assayings on the Jukebox [1990] and The Assaying on Tiredness [1989], not to complicate matters with the plays written during that period, to the second Salzburg text the novella The Afternoon of a Writer [1987], the rewriting of Sorrow Beyond Dreams that is called The Repetition and which is set in the Carinthian-Slovenian littoral [1986], the first Salzburg text the novel Across with its protagonist Loser with intra-psychic melodramas that are reminiscent of the 70s Keuschnig [1984], the great dramatic poem Walk About the Villages that Handke wrote ennobling-inventively of his working class family [1982], not to mention a great variety of translations, and the 1980 A Child s Story which features Handke as a discombobulated love-crazed dad who is here writing his second strictly historical account [A Sorrow Beyond Dreams being the first], to The Lesson of St. Victoire [1979] which has our author wandering autobiographically and contemplatively around the South of France and positing his intention to write parallel to nature, and as he had in fact already proceeded to do in A Slow Homecoming [1978] just as Cezanne painted to it - this long and intertwined chain of books and their protagonists leads us directly to one of Handke s most important personae, the figure of Sorger in the last-cited text and the much wider opening up that can be found there when we approach A.S.H. in its proper sequence as the next extenuation of the Lefthanded Woman s opening up.
Although this biographical and literary sequence has been excerpted from Nomansbay in its above indicated entirety, that is not to say that not a fair number of strands and tendrils don t connect back to each of the three Keuschnigs or to the Seven Friends or many of the other split-off personae, as far back as to Handke s first novel, the 1965 Die Hornissen [FN-17] For example, K/A s claim to have worked at the U.N in New York allows Handke to translate the generous suggestion he made to Kurt Waldheim, in a famous essay, what that man, K/A s boss, might do to salvage his life and reputation, into something that K/A said [FN-17]; some invented lawyering remembrances from Vienna affords the legally trained K/A, who feels a lot more like the near law school graduate K/H, the opportunity for a marvelous rendition of a now disempowered prime minister, whereas a K/A s stationed in an unvisited, invented Kabul is paradigmatically unconvincing in his sedentariness by comparison with the evocation not only of the so thoroughly walked Nomansbay but especially with the ambulatoriness of one of the last great walker s on earth Peter Handke [It is becoming hard to walk on the earth W.A.T.V.] and of the K/H of Nomansbay and of course very much in comparison to the seven invariably walking landscape friends, of Nomansbay s central section. Each of these world flaneurs - The Painter/ Film Maker in Spain, The Singer in Scotland, The Reader in Germany, ex-miss-Yugoslavia and the Oedipally challenged son dithering their separate ways along the Dalmatian Coast; the Priest  and extra friend Filip Kobal - on the homeboy Carinthian-Slovenian borderland; the architect/carpenter in Japan - would have been out and about with the yaks and their tribesmen in those immense vistas under similar Mongolian circumstance, say, as The Singer, one of those Seven, does not fail to heed the sheep, the morass, the stupendous weather of the northern-most tip of Scotland as far as the confluence of the Atlantic and the North Sea in what to me is the wildest and loneliest and earthiest expedition in the entire book: an expeditioning that  of course!   has its parallels, just as the differently tuned parallels all parallel and reverberate with each other  if you decide to turn your ear in that direction during that one-year, in the bight itself: [D] so as to indicate the multi-dimensionality and the inversions of just this one aspect, just as the various personae reverberate with each other, or the non-repetitive ways in which each of them is narrated. - But whereas K/A s past accommodates some K/H experiences, that of the post-foreign-service K/W writer s past is as to Peter Handke s course as a writer as Rocinante s is to Man-o-War; or if only it had been Rocinante! A kind of inversion of self-consciousness as it were. For clowning around, Handke, for my money, has been in better form [judging him, as he asks to be, within his own desired terms -FN-18- and as I shall try to oblige throughout so as, also, to put myself into a sounder critical position] say, in the figure of the gnat in the navel of the economy Franz Kilb in the 1973 play They Are Dying Out [FN-19] or that of The Minor Prophet of Porchefontaine and the Space Cadet Yugoslav G.F. in Nomansbay itself. In K/W Handke invents a jerk of a success story pro hack  this is Nomansbay s Achilles heel - as the author of books few of witch have even a tangential or ludicrous relationship to any of his own; the ex-attache writer even has as part of his summa [embarrassingly so for those who have read Handke s halting, so moving conversation on this subject with Herbert Gamper], a stay in the Hotel Adams [corner of Fifth and 86th in Manhattan] where he, Handke, sweated out the near fiasco, the in part truly great A Slow Homecoming, and the transformative nightmare that Handke apparently underwent there itself becomes a chapter in Nomansbay [see anon]; though, as impersonations go, K/W is at least better integrated, and compositionally useful also as a pale contrasting thread and sewing needle  instead of the lumpiness that a review of the books that Handke wrote prior to Nomansbay and a retelling of each and every upheaval might introduce - for the boilerplate Goethe requisite ten per cent connective backing needed within the otherwise so frequently dazzling and profound and multi-colored and -stranded and multiply reverberating carpet, than are many contemporary writers alter egos: yes, in that integrational respect, too, Handke will and is apparently able to outdo the rest! Not that it is clear at every moment precisely whether K/H or K/W is the narrator: the threads in the carpet, though individually distinct, as they dip in and out shift narrative color, as parallels begin to vibrate, the outlines as those of the chalk marks where bodies had lain also have something indistinguishable about them [if you happen to be attentive to these matters], create a spectrum of narrators, of which the division into three Keuschnigs merely represents the first crude step in the direction of that continuum. However, items of a shoe-horned kind, or transformed in from Handke s own biography, or invented, inverted, or quoted from a film or advertisement, merely alluded to, a rewriting of the end of Joyce s The Dead, in whatever alluvial littoral mixture, represent aspects of the Nomansbook that allow the reader to regard it, from one of the many perspectives that one can and needs to if one wishes to get somewhat of a handle on this ever more intriguing creation, like an early Rauschenberg collage but also with a lot of Elephant dung and bric a brac plastered on; that is, at the same time that the dimension of negative capability manifests itself in the form of the kind of non-presence, pale, diplomatic memoir-writing that the K/A writing machine practices,
QUOTE
we receive confirmation of a long-growing suspicion that Handke s overall artistic undertaking, certainly so since the mid-70s, consists, in his ficciones, of the creation a kind of Yoknapatawka County Self, fated, grandiose and occasionally seemingly overly solipsistic but protean; of using the materielle of his own ascertainable self-verifiable experience any number of ways for the creation, the very much demonstration of the creation of formal entities that enforce [?], entice [?] the reader to share Handke s world of words and his unusually perceptive ways of experiencing. That the protagonists Handke uses for these purposes are frequently exhibitions of self-surrogates becomes nearly irrelevant from that perspective. Keuschnig Writer-with-a-Past s claim, penned though it is with the sang-froid that makes one think that K/W might really believe it, that he could have as easily written instead of Nomansbay a book as intimate and city-wise as von Doderer s Strudelhofstiege, is a hoot: not for lack of ability or ambition but for Sorger s lack of the kind of necessary richness in intimate personal [as compared to see-through voyeuristic and empathic] experience of other human beings [FN-00] to feed the novelist s as compared to Handke the dramatist s imagination.   I say Sorger because in Handke s Conversation with Gamper he posits this   Strudelhofstiege is the code - wish already for A Slow Homecoming while Keuschnig repeats it in Nomansbay. Not the wish but the claim is self-contradictory within the terms of Keuschnig s misanthropism and isolation, without needing to go into either the salutariness of this kind of self-referentiality from an artistic point of view or the artistically enabling but socially disabling derivatives of Handke s autism. [F]
F- And the related childhood traumata and their consequences as the reader can glean them by reading between the lines of A Sorrow Beyond Dreams and imagining the position of beautiful Maria Handke s in some ways also incredibly fortunate firstborn during those goings on; as well as from Handke s symptomatology, say, as he describes his adolescent anger-induced states of fatigue as we can find them enumerated in the neo-Socratic self-interrogation The Assaying On Tiredness [FN-19] and, as we find out in another absolutely wonderful addition to this autobiography in bits and pieces in Nomansbay: it was the extraordinarily fine distinctions that you can find in Latin Legal Code, a kind of early Wittgenstein experience, that introduced Latin clarity into young Handke s incomprehensibly tired and angry noggin  The Assaying on the Jukebox reveals to us the other than rural and family world that that multifarious instrument allowed young Handke. meanwhile even some of Handke s correspondence with his mother has been published [FN-20]

However, Handke s personal - as compared to the fictionalized Yoknapatawka County Self as a highly complex work of art that contributes to the health of the language - is something that a careful reader can piece together, as just indicated, by following the course of the publication of the writer s books and the multitude of information that such an exhibitionist [of the Keuschnig tail in A.M.T.F.], such an exteriorizing writer, reveals, dribbles out about himself. After all, Handke also revealed to Gamper that his work in its entirety could be unraveled from an autobiographical perspective  a proposition with which I would agree and which can be pursued as long as you take an imaginative view of what constitutes auto biography  I for one would include in such an autobiographical unraveling self states, states of mind, say the paranoid and the schizophrenic position as The Goalie s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick explores it before resolving by freeing us of the anxiety - the derivatives of a decade s exposure to violent drunken primal scenes, and how an artist is able to subsume, formalize, especially extirpate via formalization their deja vues, etc., perhaps as a surrogate for our similar if less grievous traumas - for example the violent primal scene that may lie at the heart of Der Hausierer, a heart then calmed with a highly elaborated meta-fictional, or meta-black mask [FN-00]; constant writing even of this highly formalized kind as a way of remaining mentally stable, as a form of over-coming. So the kind of unraveling Handke mentions is unlikely to be some simple-minded version of all I want, Ma m is the facts.][G]

[G] At the very least such a biographical undertaking entails familiarizing oneself also with Handke s strictly autobiographical works, with Lesson of St. Victoire [1980], an account of wandering around Cezanne s mountain written on completion of Sorrow Beyond Dream and just prior to Handke s settling in Salzburg for seven years, which not only informs us of his intention to write parallel [as Cezanne painted] to nature but in the quilted nature of this personal essay of his artistic procedure and of his extraordinarily intense ways of interiorizing experiences so that they leave him nearly breathless; with the 1981 account of his relationship with his daughter A Child s Story [FN-21] which fills up yet another dimension of the First Paris Period, which child Handke has turned into a son in Nomansbay just as he did the girl child in N&H . It would entail a look at the second volume of Handke s diaries, the so aptly named Die Geschichte des Bleistifts The History of the Pencil 1981-FN-22], the successor volume to Weight of the World as it reads at first before turning into one of the great work books [a la Beckmann or Klee s] of the thought given to the works in progress, especially to Walk About the Villages and its turn toward Euripides and Goethe s alternating discourse, to Am Felsfenster, Morgens, the severely edited-down version of his 1981-87 Salzburg diaries [1999], and the collection of incidental pieces collected in Verzettelungen.

Handkean qualities  Å“indicating an extraordinarily high and serious though not necessarily at all psycho-analytic state of self-awareness, self-monitoring [FN-00] - that we can find in all these works are introduced into the Nomansbay text in the form of yet other split-offs. There is the ever again warring Catalan Woman, a very special wife-lovers compound [FN-23] who manifests a Handkean Self-quality at the end of Nomansbay in that when she shows up in the neighborhood all bedraggeled; for ever since writing the so self-identificatory A Sorrow Beyond Dreams about his wounded mother, Handke has used the figure of wounded woman, as in the dream film sequence in The Afternoon of a Writer where the gossip-lacerated writer projects himself as a hit and run bag lady into the bushes, as a metaphor for certain states of mind, and in the instance in Nomansbay, the reprieve, reverberation, for Keuschnig s projection of his state of mind might indeed be with that moment in The Afternoon of a Writer. However, by the time The Catalan Woman appears in this fashion, towards the end of the book, we have had a spectrum of different glimpses of her, usually in relationship to Keuschnig, so that if the reader chooses to focus just on her brief appearances, these entrances, these truly intimate snap-moments amount to A telescoping of her history [in a different context, Handke uses a similar procedure for the figure of the Forest Madman in Dugout Canoe: The Rehearsal of the Screenplay for the Film About the War.] In other respects, The Catalan Woman is just a recurrent motif, one important thread among others. So this is one way of writing fictionalized autobiography, not that one always wants quite that much left to one s imagination! - The end of Nomansbay, in lieu of the radio voices and the dream wish of Afternoon of a Writer, it has a less ambiguous ending with its Christmas reunion with the Seven Friends, a permissible resolution to what Handke, after all, calls a Maerchen. [J]
The Minor Prophet of Porchefontaine, an Arab restauranteur who keeps going bankrupt for berating his guests as he serves them the world s cleanest food and who therefore is forced to retreat further and further into the bight, thusly paralleling Keuschnig s retreat, aside the delight I take in him as a character in a book, might be considered a split-off part of Handke s when pessimism about the species is upon him, but also serves as yet another reason the explore the bight as the writer writes his bight book; the Medieval stone cutter, Handke-son-of-a-beautiful-mother s deference to the Romanesque, who pops up occasionally as he

[J] In the figure of the Bearskin Woman in The Screenplay for the Film About the War [1999] Handke takes the opposite of a possibly sentimental tack and creates a Maillol-like Amazon who takes those miserable infighting Balkan critters by the scruff of their hideous warring necks and shakes war out of them as you do chaff from a sack of oats.


keeps walking unemployed through Europe, each of them ascertainable qualities of Handke s, the person and the artist: after all, this is one of the great books about the varieties of what it means to be an artist, and a multi-talented one at that, each of these artists is a theme in the weaving of the overall Bokara, but also, despite whatever private esoteric Handkean characteristics that it is possible to detect and infer and deduce, an objective creation with objective existence within the spectrum of the novel.
But that is not by any means to say that each and every, or any, aspect of the life of K/H as compared to the two more pseudo of the three, in the writing of the Nomansbook in the Nomansbay with its so very in Handkeana quality as it casts its playful hide-and-seek doubt on the very nature of autobiography [no matter that everything but the pseudo would be immensely useful in writing a biography of our man], that any of those aspects necessarily, though on the basis of previous work one would expect it to, enjoys [?] some form of a  naive one to one relationship to the life that Peter Handke was and had been living in his Chaville region outside Paris at the time of the writing of the book Nomansbay: the solitudinous misanthropism - left by wife and girlfriend, entirely by himself in a house that by the photos that have been taken of Handke in its arbor, is pleasantly bucolic YET civilized as compared to its comparative barrenness in the book - might it not be another imaginative transposition from Keuschnig s life in the 70s, but explored more richly than it was at that time? -It s enough to make you wonder why with all that self-referentiality and some absolutely trustworthy leads, the plethora of mis-leads then begins to make your head spin, as the book s tectonic revolving stage plates  not unlike the stage on which The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other revolves - themselves occasionally do [which is not the sort of thing your ordinary reader is necessarily alert to, that kind of creaking, though our geologist alerts us to the impermanence of the Seine basin, hot springs, buried volcanoes] in one of Handke s so many sensitizing useful ways only detectable by someone with one or the other antennae still intact: Who? Where? Wherenot? Indeed!
However, from the perspective of the weaving intentions of the, if ever was the word as appropriate, fabrication of the no-mans-bay carpet, any real correspondences between Handke s life and that of H/K in the book, I repeat, become irrelevant even though  from the perspective of Handke s overall Yoknapatawka Self Project, and his personal biography - it is possible to tie earlier threads to Nomansbay. For example, a dimension only hinted at, which will only blossom on closer acquaintance with Handke s work in its entirety, is the introduction of Filip Kobal, the alter-ego protagonist of The Repetition 1986. In Nomansbay he reappears as Keuschnig s younger friend from one sunnier or is it colder valley over in the Slovenian-Austrian part of [H] Carinthia, the healthier, more folk and county-bound of the two. Kobal s dimension only fills out completely for those readers who know The Repetition and Walk About the Villages, the kind of work that such a strong and Hamsun-like writer might have composed, and which Handke only brings off occasionally, it is but one side of him. Reading Nomansbay without such acquaintance, the reader will miss that dimension except to its much walking extent and have to take K/H or is it K/W s claims about Filip [Gregor] Kobal on faith, as comparison, as another strand. Filip s introduction as yet another level of contrast is another element of Handke s absorption within the overall Yoknapatawka Self-County project. Yet: No matter the amount of pure and sometimes self-conscious Handkean detritus that gets washed up in his bight, does it matter, for example, to sharpen my point that, I take my example from The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other [FN-24], one of the women who walks by on stage is described as wearing Handke s hated upturned sunglasses? [G]

[G] The life lived in Salzburg from 1980 to 1987   recounted in the novel Across [1984] and in the novella The Afternoon of a Writer [1987] and of which we receive more than glimpses in the third major volume of diary excerpts, Am Felsfenster, Morgens [1981-87] [1998] is excerpted in its entirety [FN-25], though it would inform us that the raging problematics that haunted Keuschnig in the 70s persist even though Handke s art of representing them has been much amplified; persist except for Handke s then refamiliarization with his Carinthian/Slovenian borderland region [The Repetition 1986] which is memorialized in Nomansbay visits with the apparently one non-invented authentic friend, the Country Priest who yet is also an alter-ego might-have-been for the ex-seminary student Handke. His and Handke s borderland region achieve their very much presence within the fabric of Nomansbay, as do its south-eastern extensions in Handke s Yugoslavia where Keuschnig s Yugoslav girl friend and his Oedipally challenged son do the surrogate walking for him when Keuschnig does not splice in his own marvelous malecon and corso recollections. about restaurant Photo-Gallerie.

Absent in the account of any of the three K s lives is an attempt to account in any way whatsoever psychologically or existentially for the shocking transformations that any of these personae underwent in their respective pasts, and I am well aware that, to pick a glaring example, the weakest part of Under the Volcano is its trying to tie the weight of the Consul s volcanic and top-heavy! depression to his having incinerated some captured German sailors; others might be crestfallen if they accidentally kill a spider 
 there are few Dostoyevskys about as Dostoyevskean as the exteriorized dramatics of some Handke characters, especially the Loser of Across, sometimes are. Nomansbay makes no attempt to account for the violent reaction formations of the profoundest kind [FN-26] that turned the Handke  to put this in telegraphic terms  who in his earliest Avant Garde days hated the mere signifier for a piece of hay into someone who now feel uncomfortable anywhere but in the country, and into the person who in the writing of The Repetition became the God of Slowness, whose syntax turns the reader into an equally healthily paced royalty, the person, it would have to be the writer K/W, who in the process of learning Slovenian to write The Repetition, and so as to regain his mother by learning her language, has ended up gentling his and softening the German of a writer who amazingly at one time was even nauseated by language, to the extent that it becomes one reason to learn the language, a demand that of course exceeds Krishna Winston s or any of Handke s translators fortunate abilities, no matter how extraordinarily fortunate Handke has become in being joined with her in his later work; the womanizer who returned to his chaste Taoist rural roots   look at the manner in which the Handke of Assaying of Tiredness is revolted by the recollection of a couple making love above his student s room during those days!; the moneybags who regained his early state of frugality to the extent that in Winter s Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia [F-27 we notice Handke appreciate how carefully the precious gasoline is doled out of litre bottles during the embargo against Serbia: Nomansbay shows the result of the reaction formations, but fails to account or comprehend them, and to try to do so in anything but phenomenological terms would not only be non-artistic but would be impossible. [FN-28] So it is.


[E] I for my part would not be totally surprised to find out that our author is satisfied with the condition of being married, and I say so based [on the evidence of the account of Handke s remarriage that can be found in A Winter s Journey - that trip to Serbia, also a belated wedding trip! Warmer to thee may darling as the bombs fall all around or however that wonderful sardonic line from Canoe reads  and on the brief 1999 fairy tale Lucie im Wald mit den Dingsda, [FN-29/30] which gives us a young daughter s take on her father s obsessive mushroom picking and so is also a postscript to that magnificent obsession in Nomansbay s final section My Year in the Nomansbay, and so to have the one and only real Peter Handke publish his Hermann und Dorothea extolling the wonders of that institution in the not too distant future. Solitudinous, but not just with a bush!
In other but by no means as roundabout a slew of words: the great opening up from Lefthanded Woman to A Slow Homecoming. is replaced by the recall of the escape route from the Meudon/ Clamart halfway station into the forested bight: but the rabbit who uses that escape hatch, by the time of its convenient recollection fifteen years later, has not only the Alaska novel on his pelt, and is a far more accomplished artist, and so the opening up that is so perceptible in the Alaska section of A.S.H., analogously takes a far more gradual several hundred page course here as K/H walks and reads himself as well as the reader out into the discovery of the Nomansbay. Is that actually not an astoundingly honest way of proceeding in the composition of a book? To make the writing and reading then a discovery? The world becomes the discoverer as the line from Walk About the Villages that stands behind that endeavor, as W.A.T.V. provides carpet-backing recourse for the entire No-Man s-Bay project.


#
For the above reasons [?] - at any event, oddly enough, after its first several ominous pages devoted to that theme of transformations [and just think of everything that someone who knows Handke s work and biography can bring to bear on it], metamorphoses, abrupt and mortifying, or of the more gradual kind are not the story, no matter how much K/H may long for a less painful one. The three related real and pseudo Keuschnigs chief purpose for writing their inter-weaving chronicles, so he states, is to write the story of his seven distant friends, hearing of which made me of course wonder whether such a misanthrope might have even one if absent friend to write about. But Keuschnig fudges the issue - he claims to be in doubt whether he cares more about them than himself! Yet since all of them turn out to be alter ego s and Handkean qualities and split-off projections or projection screens of his Self and roads taken or nearly but not taken, the issue of liking is not in all that much doubt despite the fact that Keuschnig, in Part I, mutters, and somewhat too perfunctorily for my taste, Handke s occasional self-berating what a failure he is. The theme of transformation, and its symphonic opening in N.B., are if teases can be red herrings, a red whale, and, though small refrains of it crop up, it is addressed only once more, transposed many pages down the road, tucked away, literally and figuratively, into a Pyrenees redoubt into a chapter entitled The Story of my Metamorphosis. The transformation that is addressed there is of an entirely different kind from the pillar of salt and dissolution into feeling kind previously indicated, though related I would say to the latter of the two, the rediscovery of love This transformation concerns, and it is yet another multiple link, the opening sentence of A Slow Homecoming [Sorger had already survived several people to whom he had come close, but felt no further longing, except for those frequent bouts of a kind of selfless joy in existence with an almost animalistic craving for salvation pressing down on his eyelids.   my translation. FN-31], which opening, so Handke to Gamper, he had carried around with him for years, but which, when it came to writing that novel in the Hotel Adams at the corner of 86th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, became such a stumbling block that it nearly killed the entire project. [{J} FN-OO]


quote
The transformation, if it deserves the name, that this near maddening agony led to was, one, a conclusion about the best-laid plans of mice and men and the subsequent resolution never to do it again, and to Sorger s discovery that his religion was nature with the result of a very different kind of writing and visual apprehension:


QUOTE


{J} It has occurred to me that one reason the sentence may have presented such a hurdle is its notion that Sorger had ever been close to anyone, and so the extreme pathos of withdrawal from closeness may be an instance of unwitting bad faith, which then took its toll: however, Sorger then finds closeness to nature.


Those nameless first two sections of A.S.H, that are the result of this different approach [and which once upon a time made me conclude that if nature were to disappear at least it would continue to vibrate in those pages, they are that deeply evocative and seismographically tuned-FN-00] in Nomansbay have for their stead the gradual discovery of the archaic wilderness [which Sorger claimed to have sensed even among the New Yorkers of the Upper East Side] in the No-Man s-Bay and on the various friends various expeditions. But the manner in which K/H-K/W recounts this metamorphosis [as compared to the halting, moving way in which Handke confessed it to Herbert Gamper in this Conversation which is counted, and for good reason, among Handke s works - with his Eckermann?] I find rendered, comparatively speaking, too smoothly, as though recounted once too often, like an official story complete in each and every detail  with too little traction to use a word that I hope sticks around, too classically?]. At any event, going outside the confines of the book, into the wide field of the biography of all the Keuschnigs, it is possible to relate this particular metamorphosis intra-psychically to the epiphany that pulled the mid-70s Keuschnig of A.M.T.F. out of his doldrums, but no such direct connection is established here. No doubt a half-way imaginative reader, BUT who has not delved into every available Handke nook and cranny, might infer that there exists a relationship between this third metamorphosis and the kind of description and evocation of nature as it can be found in so much of No-Man s-Bay.
[H]

II
Subsequent to the mis-lead into the theme of transformations, the intertwining narratives of the three Keuschnigs set in, which, since K/A and K/W recount intertwining fudged pasts that are explicitly set in their several pasts, might allow the reader to make inferences from these pasts to the K/H who moves and writes his and our way into the No-Man s-Bay book/bight. [FN-OO]
K/A recounts his comparatively pale adventures in the Austrian Foreign Service; K/W gives an account of his subsequent writing career, while the K/H of the here-and-now of the writing of his Nomansbay book as he discovers it as K/A discovered the entrance to it years ago But K/H is the pile driver, the steel band inside the inertwining tri-partite narrative, this highly elongated many-tendriled rope, who proceeds to firm down certain items on the ground of the no-mans-bay, the terra firma, the plate on which the revolving theater of the narrative will be spun in the kind of revolving intense fashion that I for my experience, like so many sections of the book,
QUOTE
experienced as though as though I were reading a dream film, that is, there are these intrusions of dream writing, like moments from Wings of Desire.
During the course of these twinings and the gradual discovery of he bight, K/H begins to introduce the threads that will lead to the seven parts of the central Seven Friends section of Nomansbay, which seven friendly threads will fade as artfully, as unpredictably, with as much astounding variation and artfulness as their introductions was engineered. The various components of the Nomansbay that had been introduced in Part I join together at in Part III and are given a passionate full throttle treatment in this My Year In the Nomansbay section which to my mind is the finest, most extensive and intense exploration of a territory that Handke [each of whose books since the mid-seventies have been intensely visually tied to the locality where they were written [FN-31], has accomplished to that date: and it is to this Thoreau-like aspect of the book that William Gass responded so well in the one just review that Nomansbay received in the United States on publication in English [FN-32], an aspect, it is the author himself, certainly no ordinary copy writer so runs my hunch, summarized in the German jacket copy: A wooded region near a city. Living there for ten years. Then the one year. Seven distant friends. A wife disparu. Who? Who not? Where not? The railway station plaza with the tree where the birds sleep. The railway station pub. The Seasons. The mushrooms. The migrant workers. The neighbors. The crickets. Wars, a volcanic eruption, hot springs. A minor prophet. The child called Vladimir. The fable of the noisy neighbor whom the natives stone to death. The blue Russian orthodox chapel at the forest edge. And the reunion with the seven friends one frosty winter night just before New Years.  In the book each of these chiffres effloresces like the seeds of a pine cone after being woken by a poet. And it is from these element, from within this ground that those slivers of the rest of the world, those that were authentically experienced by the writer Peter Handke and his seven landscape friends, rather than merely impersonated and penned too smoothly, at least for my taste, for the sake of our two pseudo Keuschnig attachs & writer s twenty year career weaver s needles and hooks [although I only too well realize the need for the formalist continuum and contrast that these different kinds of stitchings confer] or even earlier one, that the reader will more likely than not respond directly, as he may, if interested, in a demonstration of the novelist s craft to the stupendous weaving performance that Handke puts on both in the broadest and most delicate and also, but too occasionally for me, in country-wise nonchalant Trout fishing in America fashion; the kind of extraordinary European artfulness, it is that of a Schubert subsequent to the Beethovian opening, that introduces us, so variably, so unpredictably, to each of the Seven Friends. - That, broadly outlined, is the flight plan according to which writing machine Handke and his notebooks would fly for from January to December in 1993. With plentiful thank you to a fine assortment of pencil stubs. QUOTE


III
On reaching the central third of the book you realize that you have entered, thematically speaking, something like the world of Ten Part Invention, the art of the fugue or raga at their most delicate and complex, playing out on the bass background of the yet developing ground of the No-Man s-Bay, so that   continuing to focus in this fashion - by the inception of the first of the Seven Friends sections our master weaver holds a very considerable skein in his hands: the three Keuschnig personae; a multi-purpose multi-dimensional wife compound whose identity is especially encrypted, whom this sight collector on his many walks across the bridge from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez doubts that Handke/Keane, the Husband of Beautiful Actresses, ever saw there except in the film A Touch of Evil or he might have more to show of this extraordinary Elephant piss vista than just the recurring chord-like glimpse; the aforementioned Filip Kobal; the Seven Friends themselves variously introduced already; the minor prophet of Prochefontaine as well as the various repeated landscape chords of the bight itself. The variously prepared sections portraying the trips of the Seven Friends of course are not simply presented like a handful of picture postcards from my trips around the world, or those interchangeable articles from the New York Sunday Times Travel Section, but are variations on ways of presenting, as each way of narrating varies from the other, and different response to the interiorization of experience, are connected with each other however exclusively via their friend Keuschnig [unless I am very much mistaken not even the Yugoslav space cadet girlfriends knows the son!], hook back into the Nomansbay time, can even be regarded as seven different kinds of assayings etc, etc.

IV
The friend to whom the first section is devoted, however, is the one for whom we have been least prepared! It is Singer

The Painter, the friend with whom Keuschnig appears to have one of the earliest acquaintances, is introduced out of Paris past long before we come to the section exclusively devoted to his story;

These alter-egos, these split-off parts among others, these Seven Friends of Nomansbay s central section, the Painter/ Filmmaker [both of which Handke is and not only as screenwriter: he directed The Lefthanded Woman & Absence the latter in Spain, though the film that the painter/ filmmaker makes there is of Handke s favorite As I Lay Dying which also allows Handke to explore the Extramadura section of Spain, the region around ///// & /// having received their due in two of he Assayings]; the Reader; the Singer which Handke is in the sense of longing to find voice for my own awkward melody and say in the sense in which he describes a certain nameless singer in Chapter II of A Slow Homecoming [that namelessness evoking that singer better than he has ever been named when his so confining name was invoked]; the architect/ carpenter in deference to Handke s favorite lean family craft; even the county priest, priestly not only toward text but the land and much like country priest s elsewhere, say Ireland, and Keuschnig s son, all of them  where s the Holy Ghost!? unless it be the itinerant space cadet Yugoslav girlfriend - manifestations of Handke s various artistic sides
his interest in them in most instances is rather greater in the places they are walking in and in their art and what they have to say on the subject than in other aspects of their personality except in the instance of The Reader who is underway in an exceedingly scotomised Germany, the remain uniformly faceless, their character, their mode of being is extrapolatible from their behavior, what they see is what they think and feel, not that Handke does not weave some of Keuschnig s characteristics into them. If one wanted to see them as a septych, they would be saints with their faces rubbed out, reiterating Handke s taboo on the representation of faces. However, a reader of

Nomansbay will come to life at the description of The Priest because he is more than just one side of Pete Keuschnig, although he has only a few scenes in the book, he has the feel of a real friend who can take Keuschnig by the scruff of the neck, ornery, hands-on, and might not be unfamiliar in Anglo-American environs if he were Irish and not Carinthian. But like their author Peter Handke and like his stand-ins the various Keuschnig s, these seven friends, save for The Priest mostly all walk solo and are not seen congregating. All this out of the near ex-nihilo of a single narrator splitting and iterating a theme twice! The Singer is the most straightforward of the lot. The Reader and the places his visits in the Bay of Jades in the North-German Wilhelsmhaven enjoys a more complicated relationship with the narrator since he visits the same pond where the narrator had thought of drowning his father [Handke s patricidal impulses are alive and well, as are, prognosticatingly his own invented son s. Another of his ways of tying the fabric closely is for Keuschnig to indicate, that like his carpenter architect friend, he too, has been to Japan. The painter filmmaker runs closer to the bone of Peter Handke; he is the one who is introduced already in Keuschnig s Paris past. The biggest surprise to me was the fairly hilarious absentee Yugoslav girlfriend, an ex Miss Yugoslavia with a host of marriages, one to a Yugoslav basketball star and business ventures in her past who services Handke nicely as she works her way down the Dalmatian coast into Turkey, and if I recall precisely is last seen moving up the Nile.
#



[D] Nomansbay, a fable in the German edition, transposes its own writing, as may puzzle the American reader, four years forward from the 1993 of its composition. Ten years Keuschnig claims in Nomansbook has he been living there whereas Handke, after leaving Salzburg and his trip round the world, by 1993, had been living there for six years. The civil wars, then raging in the former Yugoslavia, are transposed, futuristically, to a far-off Germany, North versus South, smokers versus alcohol-consumers, transposing the missing four years into the future; My Year in the Nomansbay is the title of the last section and the refugio receives the full throttle treatment.

What has not been excerpted is Handke s extraordinary artistic growth and development since the mid 70s, within what generally looks like a graduated attempt at development in seven year increments, of which he has passed five stages, has greatly altered and augmented his entire artistic repertoire, and though the personal changes that H/K underwent as a result of his transformations are not accounted for [there are fewer than one might have supposed?], the artistic changes [FN-20] yet are on full display in the composition and rendition of Nomansbay, including the manifestations of what I would like to call Handke s rapprochement with his earlier avant-garde period. Whereas The Repetition [1986] might lead a reader to anticipate that the direction of Handke s writing from thereon in would be that of a thorough-going pastoralist [Handke s alter ego Filip Kobal is seeking to find his horticulturally occupied uncle in Slovenia] his rapprochement, to his earlier so-called avant phase, can be dated, say, to The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other [FN-21] which is the summa of Handke s 1965-through 1972 work in the theater, a summa in the sense that by simplifying down their playfulness, their sensitizing, their confrontationality, their deconstructing   while yet retaining the musically compositional procedures on a stage where only the stage is real- indicates that Handke has reconnected more obviously with his earliest modernist archaeological phase than he did with Walk About the Villages departure from it; or dated to the first of his Three Assayings and would seem to be the result of the wish that Handke expressed in Fantasien der Wiederholung [FN-22] to become productively lost.
3
The sea-change and development in artistic procedures since the mid-70s are not recounted in Nomansbay as, say, the story of my artistic development, but are manifested, acted out if you will, first of all in the action of the kind of writing we find here - the most major of Keuschnig s transformation since the mid-70s is a turn from the phenomenological dissociative distancing way Handke was writing about him in A.M.O.T.F in 1974 and the expressive, far more varied also in the forms that distancing can take by way of the variety of forms of Handke s chronicling   and far more versatile virtuoso control he has the various Keuschnigs have over a set of instruments by 1993 that is greater on entirely other order. Nomansbay, therefore provides Handke with the opportunity to demonstrate his own artistic development first of all in the act itself, but also through the lives and actions and thoughts of some of the artistic of his seven friends. s, with the one who is bildsam [image-minded?] as Handke calls it, being the profoundest addition to a repertoire that was structurally-musically rich from the inception but very much evident in A Slow Homecoming but especially so since the announcement in A Lesson of St. Victoire to write parallel [as Cezanne painted] to nature ¦Van Ruysdael/ across The other major introduction is that of dream-film writing


. Reading Absence, magically, affords the same experience as seeing a film, and not in the sense that a screenplay allows you to imagine the film in the theater of the mind: Absence produces the kinesthetic quality of seeing a film as you read its utterly simple text. [In his so revelatory conversation with Herbert Gamper, Handke mentions, he was merely playing with tenses a little.]
as in the projected dream film sequence in The Afternoon of a Writer where the gossip-wounded writer sees himself a hit and run bag lady tossed into the bushes  as a metaphor for certain states of mind
in the kind of revolving intense fashion that I for my experience, like so many sections of the book, experienced as though as though I were reading a dream film, that is of Wings of Desire,
not just re-anchoring each word in an image but going beyond that.
The quilting of A Lesson of St. Victoire, the cobbling together, by the time of Nomansbay
So that revolves Over all form of book QUOTE
; the only profession of Handke s left out being that of translator which Handke regards as of the same order as other kinds of poetic verbal creation Thus Handke s personal saga, compared to the near impossibility of trying to piece it together from Nomansbay even if you have researched
, the book that is announced in Nomansbay, In Einer Dunklen Nacht Ging Ich Aus Meinem Stillen Haus, [One Dark Night I Walked out of My Quiet House, FN-28], as productive writers are wont to tell what s in the oven, is, of course!, a reprieving denouement and pulling out of the Nomansbay theme  a theme that over-arches an entire body of work - of an isolated, but now slighter bight!


For the Nomans project, since Handke apparently felt obligated to deliver himself of such a major opus, to make such a summary impression, which had eluded him, the writer of his preferred 25,000 to 75,000 maximum texts until then, Handke faced something like God s seven-day problem of creating a universe as expansive as his ambitions. A Slow Homecoming apparently came to an abrupt halt at Handke s discovery that he had run out of material, not the sort of occurrence one expects a pure formalist to have, though it proves that even a formalist must have a rich marrow bone to suck. If we are to believe that his intention even at the time of A Slow Homecoming was to write what he called a Staatsroman that explored. With his misanthropy and apparently unwilling to be as inventive of a large cast of characters, be they acknowledged sides or projections of the solipsistic grandiose self, as he has been in his plays [in They Are Dying Out, Walk About the Villages, The Art of Asking, Preparations for Immortality, and The Play About the Film About the War] Handke chose to turn seven landscapes that he learned to love during his world-wide walking expeditions into friends, and to be such a landscape is to be as understood and loved as few friends ever are, certainly more so than either the Oedipal son or the fractious wife. Yes when have landscapes been loved better, more precisely and vigorously, have had the entire history of western art brought to bear on them, interiorized by someone with such capacities for interiorization and then exteriorized more richly and in more painterly and articulate fashion save in a number of other Handke books. [FN-00] Moreover, think of the avoidance of conflict, since each friend is somewhere else, and he or she only meets at the very end of the book! Therefore, the so multi-dimensional Nomansbay, subsequent to the seven friends section, and of course it eases out of these sections with the same extraordinarily quiet artfulness that any buyer of such a carpet would demand of a maker after he had put his money down on completion of the first half is then devoted to the coming together of the many threads and themes of the here and now of the no-man s-bay itself. As I indicated, for a handling of theme and variation, their development and integration, for a multi-dimensional Gesamtkunstwerk of a very particular kind, I cannot think of any book that has performed that task as masterfully; and we are meant to learn from our masters. Whether the No-Man -Book itself holds the potential of a transforming effect for the reader as so much of Handke s work can with such unusual syntactical and insidious force, and in so many unanticipatable ways? Evidently not for such inveterate reviewers like Lee Siegel or J.S. Marcus.

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MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html