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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
A Sorrow Beyond Dreams

A Sorrow Beyond Dreams

A Life Story

FSG Classics

Peter Handke; Introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides; Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Trade Paperback

Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke--“the extravagantly talented Austrian playwright of chutzpah, novelist of sensibility, poet of linguistic games” (Kirkus)--ponders the life and early death of his mother

"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, 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).

Nobel Prize in Literature

Praise for A Sorrow Beyond Dreams

“Moving and beautifully realized . . . Nearly perfect.” —Richard Locke, The New York Times Book Review

A Sorrow Beyond Dreams is Handke's masterpiece, a short, concentrated, mysteriously exhaustive portrait of his mother, from whom history and circumstance have removed most traces of an identity.” —J. S. Marcus , The New York Review of Books

“In A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, the author confronts his mother's suicide in a compelling story that is ‘like an explanation of a recurrent dream, a dream so vividly expressed it becomes our dream.'” —Chicago Sun-Times


Reviews from Goodreads

Peter Handke; Introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides; Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim

Peter Handke was born in Griffen, Austria, in 1942. A novelist, playwright, and translator, he is the author of such acclaimed works as The Moravian Night, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, and Repetition. The recipient of multiple literary awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and the International Ibsen Award, Handke is also a filmmaker. He wrote and directed adaptations of his novels The Left-Handed Woman and Absence, and co-wrote the screenplays for Wim Wenders’ Wrong Movie and Wings of Desire. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2019.

image of Peter Handkeo
Lillian Birnbaum

Read Author Bio at Britannica

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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