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Peter Handke’s early novel Short Letter, Long Farewell is one of his most inventive and exhilarating books. Full of seedy noir atmospherics and boasting an air of generalized delirium, the book begins by introducing us to a young German who has just arrived in America, where he hopes to get over the collapse of his marriage. No sooner has he arrived, however, than he discovers that his ex-wife is pursuing him. He flees, she follows, and soon the couple is running circles around each other across the length of America—from Philadelphia to St. Louis, to the Arizona desert and Portland, Oregon. Is it love or vengeance that they want from each other? Everything’s spectacularly unclear in a book that is travelogue, suspense story, Western showdown, and domestic comedy with a totally unexpected Hollywood twist at the end. Above all, however, Short Letter, Long Farewell is a love letter to America, its landscapes and popular culture, the invitation and the threat of its newness and wildness, with the promise of a new life—unless that’s the corpse of an old one—lying just around the corner.