Short Letter, Long Farewell

Peter Handke

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Short Letter, Long Farewell tells the story of a young Austrian--evidently modeled on the author--on a month's journey across the United States.  The book opens in Providence, where a letter awaits the un-named narrator from his estranged wife, Judith.  "I am in New York," it says.  "Please don't look for me.  It would not be nice for you to find me."
 
As the novel proceeds, however, it gradually becomes clear that Judith is pursuing him, not vice versa--pursuing with the intent to kill.  He spends a day in New York, then goes on to Philadelphia, where he joins an old flame and her daughter.  The trio drives to St. Louis, still shadowed by Judith; partly to escape her (and partly to face her), the narrator strikes out west on his own, to Tucson, where he is robbed by Judith's agents, then up to the Oregon coast, where a roadside showdown takes place and a gunshot echoes over the Pacific.

"I seem to have been born for horror and fear," Handke's narrator confesses.
 
As the narrator and Judith maneuver toward their coastal rendezvous, his life itself may depend on whether he has achieved enough--in the flesh and in the mind--to confront the pistol trembling in her hand.

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Short Letter, Long Farewell
"And once when they were strolling outside the town gate on a warm but overcast morning, Iffland said that this would be good weather to go away in--and indeed, the weather seemed made for travel: the sky lay close to the earth and the objects round about were dark, as though to confine the traveler's attention to the road he was going to travel." 
Karl Philipp Moritz, Anton ReiserThe Short LetterJefferson Street is a quiet thoroughfare in Providence. It circles around the business section, changes its name to Norwich Street in the South End, and leads into

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About the Author

Peter Handke

PETER HANDKE was born in Griffen, Austria, in 1942. His many works include The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, My Year in No-Man’s Bay, On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House, and Crossing the Sierra de Gredos, all published by FSG.

Peter Handke

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Peter Handke

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Short Letter, Long Farewell
Peter Handke

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
January 1974
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466807037
ISBN10: 1466807032
250 pages
$7.99
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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