A Sorrow Beyond Dreams
He is the author of two novels, The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex. He lives in Berlin, Germany, with his wife. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Warner Bros. Manheim, Ralph, — II.
A Life Story
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Handke's brief new book is non fiction at all, but a major memorial to a host of buried German and Austrian lives, the best piece of new writing I have seen in several years. Yet both men write in the same language and both men, in ways shall try to describe, are the heirs of Franz Kafka. Kafka: the name evokes a world of proliferating nightmare patiently endured. Yet Kafka's principal legacy to German literature is probably not his anguish or his visions but his casual, apparently featureless style, his murmuring narrative manner, the tone of a man about to recount enormities to you without raising his voice. It was just after 7 p. Kafka's language promises nothing except that it will not get ruffled, whatever happens; and this promise matters so much because the language records a world in which anything can happen. Continued on next page K.