THE RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE and Other Plays by Peter Handke

THE RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE and Other Plays

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The translation of the six plays in this volume--written between 1966, the beginning of Handke's theatrical career, and 1972--completes the publication of his work for the stage in English. Two Handkes are apparent here: the early, bitter poet of unnamed characters--for example, in Prophesy--speaking stunted similes that render them helpless in an apocalypse of banality; and the more generous, more expansive maker of the longer and later plays--the title play and They Are Dying Out--who, though concerned with false starts and empty gestures, renders intelligent characters in a rich matrix of personal and political struggle. Lake Constance describes the dream state, with interpersonal signals gone askew: the characters, famous actresses and actors, dance, exclaim over trivial objects, bicker, scratch their heads, and tell improbable anecdotes in an endeavor to identify some literal reality. But the best play here is the most recent, the least linguistically experimental, and most overtly political: They Are Dying Out. Its hero Quitt, an eloquent, meditative tycoon who betrays his fellow monopolists, is one of the most complex characters in contemporary drama. He shouldn't be missed.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux