The Moravian Night

(Open Letters Monthly) – Scott Abbott:

Peter Handke’s The Moravian Night is a novel about storytelling. Its first words declare that “Every country has its Samarkand”; on this night, the Samarkand of The Arabian Nights has a Balkan counterpart. A former writer has summoned several visitors to his houseboat on the Morava River in what is now Serbia and over the course of a single night he tells them about the journey from which he has returned. Readers have access to his account through a narrator who describes what he hears, who comments on the story as it progresses, and who sometimes simply repeats what the former writer says. Several audience members recount events they witnessed personally and the host listens eagerly to their versions of his experience. The novel’s ending calls the night’s stories into question and story becomes the story. …

openlettersmonthly slow-inquiring-narration

Peter Handke: The Moravian Night

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