On the outskirts of a northwestern European riverport city lives a powerful woman banker, a public figure admired and hated in equal measure, who has decided to turn from the worlds of high finance and modern life to embark on a quest. Having commissioned a famous writer to undertake her “authentic” biography, she journeys through the Spanish Sierra de Gredos and the region of La Mancha to meet him. As she travels by allterrain vehicle, bus, and finally on foot, the nameless protagonist encounters five way stations that become the stuff of her biography and the biography of the modern world, a world in which genuine images and unmediated experiences have been exploited and falsified by commercialization and by the voracious mass media.
In this visionary novel, Peter Handke offers descriptions of objects, relationships, and events that teach readers a renewed way of seeing; he creates a wealth of images to replace those lost to convention and conformity. Crossing the Sierra de Gredos is also a very human book of yearning and the ancient quest for love, peopled with memorable characters (from multiple historical periods) and imbued with Handke’s inimitable ability to portray universal, inner-worldly adventures that blend past, future, present, and dreamtime.