Overview



Set in 1960, this novel tells of Filib Kobal's journey from his home in Carinthia to Slovenia on the trail of his missing brother, Gregor. He is armed only with two of Gregor's books: a copy book from agricultural school, and a Slovenian - German dictionary, in which Gregor has marked certain words. The resulting investigation of the laws of language and naming becomes a transformative investigation of ...
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Repetition

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Overview



Set in 1960, this novel tells of Filib Kobal's journey from his home in Carinthia to Slovenia on the trail of his missing brother, Gregor. He is armed only with two of Gregor's books: a copy book from agricultural school, and a Slovenian - German dictionary, in which Gregor has marked certain words. The resulting investigation of the laws of language and naming becomes a transformative investigation of himself and the world around him.

In the summer of 1960, young Filip Kobal leaves his home to search for his missing brother. He is led not only in the direction of his brother, but to an investigation of language and to recapturing a past.

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Editorial Reviews

David Pryce-Jones
More ambitious than much of his work, ''Repetition,'' is a full-length novel, recognizable as search for the true self. The intention is to shatter Austrian complacency, utterly to reject the national conspiracy of silence and evasion, so that the Austrian at last can be his own man. Admirable as this would be, Mr. Handke is not the writer for it. To some extent, the alienation of this novel is attributable to the deliberate distancing of its style. More crucially, ''Repetition'' reveals one man set so implacably against his fellows that he can do nothing but pity himself and hate them. Surrender to these reactions serves to extend the Nazi legacy rather than to destroy it. New beginnings without humanity are not new beginnings at all. . . . It is this novel's melancholy achievement to show such sentiment for what it is, not cleansing but deepening the moral confusion of the world the Nazis left to their descendants. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Handke's eminence, displayed in a substantial oeuvre of plays, novels and poems, is reaffirmed brilliantly by his latest work. In 1960, Filip Kobal, an alienated, 20-year-old, nascent Austrian writer of Slovenian descent, embarks on a quest to the land of his forebears. Ostensibly a retracing of his much older brother's last steps 20 years before he was a Slovenian patriot, lover and revivifier of the language and tradition, and a doomed member of the Resistance, the journey is in fact an odyssey of self-discovery for Filip the man and the writer. Handke fashions an extraordinary retelling of the archetypal journey of initiation where the hero must travel beyond the frontiers of the known in order to transform himself into a higher state of being. Using his brother's agricultural student copybook and Slovenian-German dictionary as guides, Filip discovers language's magical ability to expand and transform reality. He attains a transcendent vision in which things and their names are all conjoined and enfolded upon themselves. And with undercurrents of memory of a bloody, oppressive past and consciousness of a sickly political present manifested in its debased, prosaic use of words, Handke reminds us, in crystalline prose, that our speech, our freedom and spiritual wholeness are one. June
Library Journal
$18.95. f Growing through time and passing through space engross young Austrian Filip Kobal. Setting out from Austria in summer 1960, Filip crosses into Yugoslavia, following the path of his dead brother, Gregor. As companions he takes two books: his brother's old notebook and a Slovenian-German dictionary. Through the notebook he regains contact with Gregor by recapturing events from his truncated life. The dictionary explodes language into a palpable present and points Filip toward his true calling as a writer. This novel is not among Handke's best. Composed of ``word sequences,'' it is intended ``to be both consistent and imaginative,'' but while the latter is true, the former, woefully, is not. Amidst the swirling phrases one is apt to ask, ``Just what is the point?'' The answer, like this novel, is not satisfying. Paul E. Hutchison, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466807013
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 6/1/1988
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,233,855
  • File size: 276 KB

Meet 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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