|Still from the 1977 movie version of The Left-Handed Woman , also written by Handke.|
The Left-Handed Woman (1975)
by Peter Handke
The Left-Handed Woman is hardly a novella, let alone a novel. At 70 pages, with large spaced between lines and equally ample margins, The Left-Handed Woman reads like a New Yorker short story, which, according to the jacket copy, it actually is. Confusingly, Handke himself made the movie version, which is "better known" as far as the English language audience for German literature is concerned. Like The Goalkeepers Anxiety of the Penalty Kick, The Left-Handed Woman is a 70's German take on the 1950's era French exisentialist novel. Who are we? Why are we here? What are we doing with our lives?
In The Left-Handed Woman, this classic plight is acted out by the narrator, a youngish haus frau named Marianne, who abruptly orders the husband and father of her children out of their apartment after she experiences a revelation that her husband, Bruno, will leave her "some day." Having been through my own personal experience with a woman whose behavior closely mirrored Marianne in this novel, I can say that Handke accurately describes the sudden change of mind that suddenly descends upon utterly normal type people. One minute you are in a happy marriage, the next you desperately need to escape. That is a way that people behave in our world.