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"There you are, my friend"

My day in another country
Forfatter: Peter Handke
Forlag: Suhrkamp (Tyskland)
HANDKE: An eternal tension between the individual and the community. With age, has Peter Handke gradually given up on rage?

"I want to be one like someone else has been." With this line, the Austrian Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke opens a play Kaspar from 1968. The play, based on the historical Kaspar Hauser figure – which appears as a speechless tabula rasa in a southern German village – thematizes the sometimes tyrannical violence of language, upbringing and community.

Kaspar's first remark could – with the opposite sign – also begin Handke's new story My day in another country ("My day in the other country"). Here, admittedly, the younger Handke's critique of language and society has given way to an age-old longing for community: the utopia of the community instead of the violence of the community.

A gentle, open gaze and a misanthropic rage.

The narrator's voice is taken by an unnamed apple farmer, who depicts a perennial state of madness and mental confusion when he was obsessed with an all-consuming rage. With one sister as the only surviving family member, he has pitched a tent outside his hometown. He spends his days incessantly wandering through the surrounding villages and across country roads while a manic stream of curses and insults floods out of him: "Down with creation" is this cacophony. . .

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Lukas Lehner
Freelance writer.

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