These are recounted matter-of-factly, for in this moral universe, violence is a matter of fact. Handke is critiquing literary traditions in which suffering is “submerged in poetic sentences”. He eschews heightened rhetoric to avoid the romanticism of Heimatliteratur (cosy, rustic narratives). Instead he employs what Updike termed Handke’s “knifelike clarity of evocation”. Or perhaps we should say needlelike, because it was with a knitting needle that Maria terminated her pregnancies.