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Till Day You Do Part or a Question of Light

Described as an answer to or at least an echo of Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape", Austrian playwright and novelist Peter Handke's "Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light" is a monologue delivered by the 'she' in Beckett's play. This unnamed female similarly recalls other significant female protagonists in Handke's own work, such as The Left-handed Woman. Handke prefaces the monologue in "Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light" with a description of two stone figures. While the male figure remains 'as dead and gone as anyone can', the female bursts into life, and her monologue gradually focuses on Krapp's use of pauses and language to dominate the other characters in the Beckett play. Ultimately, however, her complaints and critique of Krapp become a declaration of her love for Krapp or at least an affirmation of their attachment, as the two of them are ultimately bound together, perhaps even inseparable. "Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light" is Handke at his best, evidencing the great skill, psychological acumen, and vision for which his work has been celebrated.
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About the Author

Peter Handke was born in Griffen, Austria, in 1942. His many works of fiction include Absence; Across; The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick; and Short Letter, Long Farewell. Mike Mitchell has worked as a literary translator since 1995.


"The David Byrne of fiction: a writer with a resonant, powerfully direct voice who could invoke the particular Sartrean nausea of post-modern existence in the simplest events." - New York Times "In power and vision and range, Peter Handke is the most important new writer on the international scene since Beckett." - Stanley Kaufmann "There is no denying Handke's willful intensity and knife-like clarity of emotion. He writes from an area beyond psychology, where feelings acquire the adamancy of randomly encountered, geologically analyzed pebbles. The best writer, altogether, in his language." - John Updike, New Yorker"

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