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The incidents are told to the unnamed narrator by the pharmacist- by this time referred to instead as the "storyteller"-who suggests at times that he's tailoring it to fit his idea of what a "story" should be, and that his actions were themselves influenced by his goal of creating the story. Furthermore, as he walks toward home across the steppe following further adventures in the village, the pharmacist encounters his old Salzburg friend Andreas Loser-a classics teacher who shares his name and occupation with the principal character of another [Peter Handke] novel, "Across." Thus does Handke relentlessly construct an increasingly hallucinatory fun house of postmodern narrative games that confirms his ability to find the limits of comprehending consciousness, while at the same time hitting the limits of readability.
In recent years Handke has gained renewed prominence in Europe for a series of controversial writings that appear to defend the Serbian side in the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts. A recent article on those works in The New York Review of Books suggests that readers "resist" Handke and "reproach" all of his previous fiction as potentially tainted by these writings. The article, by novelist J.S. Marcus, seems to imply that his novelistic explorations of the unmooring of reason and extreme subjectivity are linked to the irrationality of his writings about the Balkans.