All Categories

The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick A Novel

Peter Handke; Translated by Michael Roloff

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

144 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
The first of Peter Handke’s novels to be published in English, The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is a true modern classic that “portrays the . . . breakdown of a murderer in ways that recall Camus’s The Stranger”  (Richard Locke, The New York Times). The self-destruction of a soccer goalie turned construction worker who wanders aimlessly around a stifling Austrian border town after pursuing and then murdering, almost unthinkingly, a female movie cashier is mirrored by his use of direct, sometimes fractured prose that conveys “at its best a seamless blend of lyricism and horror seen in the runes of a disintegrating world” (Bill Marx, Boston Sunday Globe).


Praise for The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick

“Handke became the enfant terrible of the European avant-garde, denouncing all social, psychological and historical categories of experience as species of linguistic fraud. But [he] has aged well and now . . . is regarded as one of the most important writers in German.” —Richard Locke, The New York Times

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

The Goalie's Anxiety At the Penalty Kick
WHEN JOSEPH BLOCH, a construction worker who had once been a well-known soccer goalie, reported for work that morning, he was told that he was fired. At least that was how he interpreted the fact that no one except the foreman looked up from his coffee break when he appeared at the door of the construction shack, where the workers happened to be at that moment, and Bloch left the building site. Out on the street he raised his arm, but the car that drove past --even though Bloch hadn't been hailing a cab--was not a cab. Then he heard the sound of brakes
Read the full excerpt


  • Peter Handke; Translated by Michael Roloff

  • Peter Handke was born in Griffen, Austria, in 1942. His most recent novel is Crossing the Sierra de Gredos (FSG, 2007).
  • Peter Handke Lillian Birnbaum