“The Sunday edition of the Kärntner Volkszeitung carried the following item under ‘Local News’: ‘In the village of A. (G. township), a housewife, aged 51, committed suicide on Friday night by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.’”
So opens A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, the eminent Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke’s reckoning with his mother’s life—which spanned the rise of the Nazis, World War II, and postwar suffering—and death. Both stark and lyrical, full of love, anger, admiration, and a keen sense of history, this slim book reveals Handke at his most lucid and direct. It is the most moving and accessible work in his distinguished career; it is “indispensable” (Bill Marx, The Boston Globe).