Many literary critics consider “The Moravian Night” to be the best work of Nobel laureate Peter Handke, “a magnificent autobiographical novel that defines the role of a writer.”
This unusual autobiographical story, translated into Serbian by Žarko Radaković, is tied to our region, and not just by the title. The writer who allegedly quit his writing job is talking about his life to seven friends on board the ”Moravian Night”.
Porodin, central Serbia, just before midnight. Seven people approached the bank of a river where the boat, called ”Moravian Night” was anchored. The writer who decided to retire from the literary scene invited them to his floating home. Seven friends did not know why they were called so suddenly: some were awakened by the phone, some by a knock on the door or a pebble thrown at a window. An even bigger surprise awaited them on board, where this notorious misogynist greeted them in the company of a woman. Who was this woman? His mistress? A prostitute? Or maybe an assistant?
Questions arose, but the writer did not want to say anything yet, because he had the whole night before him. A long night in which he could talk about his “round trip” from the Balkans to Spain, Germany and Austria, a journey he traveled in search of his own roots but also running away from the woman who had chased him to take his head. Perhaps this was the same woman?
Powerful, colorful, confessional, but at the same time satirical, ”The Moravian Night” explores the writer’s consciousness and memories at the end of his career, following the path of his fears, anger and pleasure, which are inseparable from the recent history of Central Europe.
Since being named as the 2019 Nobel Prize winner in literature, Peter Handke has become the most widely-read writer in our country, thanks to the Žarko Radaković’s translations, who recently pointed out that “Peter Handke – independent of all interference from appreciating his artistic oeuvre, even independent in his own repertoire of literary work – undoubtedly one of the greatest writers of the present”.