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Don Juan [Hardcover]

Peter Handke

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Book Description

Feb. 2 2010

In Don Juan, Peter Handke offers his take on the famous seducer. Don Juan’s story—“his own version”—is filtered through the consciousness of an anonymous narrator, a failed innkeeper and chef, into whose solitude Don Juan bursts one day. On each day of the week that follows, Don Juan describes the adventures he experienced on that same day a week earlier. The adventures are erotic, but Handke’s Don Juan is more pursued than pursuer. What makes his accounts riveting are the remarkable evocations of places and people, and the nature of his narration. This is, above all, a book about storytelling and its ability to burst the ordinary boundaries of time and space.

In this brief and wry volume, Handke conjures images and depicts the subtleties of human interaction with an unforgettable vividness. Along the way, he offers a sharp commentary on many features of contemporary life.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: FSG Adult; First Edition edition (Feb. 2 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374142319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374142315
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,521,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Praise for Don Juan:
“Handke’s power of observation and his seemingly casual tone, in which every word bears indispensable weight, are as mesmerizing as ever . . . A Handke tale invites active reading, speculation rather than passive absorption . . . It is [his] loving gaze, honed by time and discipline, that shows readers the way out again into the world’s prolific and astonishing strangeness.”  —KAI MARISTED, The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brevity, wit Nov. 16 2010
By Thomas F. Dillingham - Published on
Peter Handke's characteristic brevity and subtle intellect combine in this work. Not really a novel, at barely 100 pages it might be called a novella, but it is really a prose poem, as the best of Handke's work has been. Just as the work is difficult to characterize generically, it is impossible to describe without distortion. So much of it both is and is not what it is, as the narrator (who is not a chef and restauranteur, who lives in what is not any longer the convent at Port-Royal, and so on) frequently reminds the reader. Don Juan is and is not the central character (actually, the narrative is about time, as well as about not-time), and much of what happens will not have happened as the narrative progresses. In any case, Don Juan is not himself in this narrative, though it is presented as "His Own Version." What the book certainly is is a delightful and disturbing couple of hours of reading which, at least for me, led to a nearly immediate re-reading, which was similarly delightful and disturbing. Watch a couple of performances of Don Giovanni (plenty available on DVD--Keenlyside is particularly good, or Terfel) and then read this. You won't be sorry.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There have been a number of national reviews of Don Juan March 14 2010
By Michael Roloff - Published on
a middling one by Joel Agee in the New York Times Sunday book review in early March of 2010, the best so far is Dan Vitale's at THREE PERCENT


Dan Vitale's review of Handke's DON JUAN is a good deal more perceptive than most that have appeared in this country. Nonetheless, he misses a few essential features. Don Juan is but a state of mind, a wish fulfillment into which the restaurateur, who is but a figure out of NO-MAN'S BAY, falls at a moment that he is especially bereft, a moment, it is a dream, a fantasy, and it is so magical in jumping from place to place as a dream or a cut film can be. WOMANTIME is the significant term here that is missed, this is no archetype; Vitale also avoids mention of Don Juan''s sidekick, the chauffeur, who only loves ugly women and whose sex life would seem to be a good deal grosser; also that the book celebrates as the great pop song had it ""what's love got to do with it"".. - bodies enjoying each other's sexuality. It is as earthy as the mushrooms the restaurateur fancies. Formally, the book combines the novelistic, film, dream and the essayistic; the figure that organizes it spatially and narratively are the whirling dervishes. The faster they whirl the calmer the center as the book narrows down and then, once WOMANTIME is over and the TELLING is over, it unravels as does Don Juan back into ordinary counting time. In that sense the book is about aging. The book is about the eros of writing and loving that more than anything else, and is its own demonstration. It is one of Handke's finest and subtlest works, it asks to be read sentence by sentence, at about the pace at which it was written, 1000 words a day, and touches the very dark heart of the world: or rather, as it says: ""brushes is" - and wishes that by merely brushing it represents more accurately. And isn''t it odd that although a certain merriment prevails, is basic mode is rater B-minor, melancholy. The only thing that is complete is the description of the Port Royal abbey region, madre natura on which the restaurateur walks...

I have two pages devoted to DON JUAN AT:


Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society

This LYNX will LEAP you to my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS

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