THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD. By Peter Handke. Translated by Ralph Manheim. 243 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $16.95.
FOR fullest appreciation of this assemblage of opinions, descriptions, reflections and snatches of conversation, daydreams and nightmares, one would have to be as fascinated with the mind of Peter Handke as Peter Handke is. Yet given a bit of patience, a reader can find satisfactions here, passages that are striking on their own or for the opening they offer into a writer's mind.
Mr. Handke, the Austrian novelist, playwright and film maker, lived in Paris with his daughter between November 1975 and March 1977 and, in the manner of writers, he kept a notebook. The entries, skillfully translated by Ralph Manheim, are never longer than a printed page, and many do not fill out a line. For some reason, they lack periods.
In the months covered, Mr. Handke apparently suffered a mild heart attack, a sweet-and-sour love affair, the middle-age pains of having to supervise the growing-up pains of his daughter, and a chronic fear of death and of life: ''I dreamed of my death last night; up until then I had been the hero of my book; after my death I was only the reader''
Readers generally turn to a writer's noteboook after their admiration or curiosity has been provoked by his more formal work. If he is a Kafka, then every word he ever jotted down assumes a significance that often is beyond anything intended by the writer. Mr. Handke cannot yet have aroused such interest in many American readers, but there is enough here of his style, his obsessions, his special tone to draw newcomers to his novels - or to send them away.
The prevailing theme is Mr. Handke's separation from others, from the world, not least from himself - ''New feeling of remoteness, unconnectedness, of congealed beside-myselfness'' There is a self-conscious envy of exuberant life: ''A beautiful, severe, statuesque, cold, enthusiastic woman, who walks bouncingly, and to make matters worse starts singing a revolutionary song. How I hate her!'' Mr. Handke is offended by noises and odors and by most other signs of human existence. ''Which is worse,'' he asks, ''anxiety or people?''
The diarist does not seem to have permitted his reaction to Franz Kafka's diaries - ''I find that his complaints and self-recriminations no longer interest me'' - to temper his own complaints. The most startling line in this book is, ''I laugh too much''
But just as one is beginning to wince at the whines, the writer comes through with a redemptive passage: ''A beautiful girl with bare shoulders entered the Metro car; at first the other women seemed vexed - but then, as they looked at the girl and took a liking to her, they seemed to grow younger''
Like other loners, Mr. Handke spends a lot of time at the movies and, more surprisingly, watching news and interview shows on television. Journalists are among the many species of humankind that irritate him and he does not resist the occasional dig: ''Rare occurrence; while reading a newspaper story, come across a sentence that makes one look for the name of the person who wrote it'' He knows how to hurt a guy.
Some entries are pretentious - ''Rediscover the forgotten, anonymous language of all mankind, and it will shine in self-evidence (my task)''; some are perplexing - ''Don't eat carrots - they kill your desire for anything else''; some are banal - ''No luggage, nothing to carry; the joy of having your hands free: 'Just a toothbrush' ''; some are striking - ''At the sight of the switchblade, the thought that I could use it to defend myself if my own body assaulted me''; and some are brilliantly simple: ''The sun shines on my writing hand and strengthens it'' Now and then, an observation calls up an amen: ''Hatred of people who bed their eyeglasses in their hair''
There are even a few very short short stories: ''The girl's story: ''I followed a man into the Metro. From station to station I felt more beautiful - when he finally spoke to me I was unapproachable; too beautiful''
This review seems to have turned into a sampler, which, like so many other things, will probably offend the author. He writes: ''The most mindless of mortals: those who only leaf through books'' But what is one to do with a book that demands, and repays, leafing?