Winking at myself

Michael Hofmann

  • The Weight of the World by Peter Handke, translated by Ralph Manheim
    Secker, 243 pp, £9.95, September 1984, ISBN 0 436 19088 5

The Austrian writer Peter Handke is so successful and so prolific that, reviewing one of his recent novels, his arch-enemy Marcel Reich-Ranicki, literary editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, ended by crowing at the fact that Langsame Heimkehr bad failed to make it onto the best-seller list. ‘Let no one say there’s no such thing as progress,’ he concluded. But it has been a long time coming. In 1977, when Das Gewicht der Welt was published by Residenz in Salzburg, it went through two editions and 50,000 copies in a year. By now, with the Suhrkamp paperback thrown in, it must have exceeded a million. The figures are sufficient to dispel any notion that in reading this ‘Journal’ one might be doing something private or privileged.

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in