Thomas Bernhard - book author
Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian author, who ranks among the most distinguished German speaking writers of the second half of the 20th century.
Although internationally he's most acclaimed because of his novels, he was also a prolific playwright. His characters were oftenly working in a lifetime and never-ending major work while they deal with themes such as suicide, madness and obsession and, as Bernhard did, they use to have a love-hate relation with Austria. His prose was tumultuous but sober at the same time, philosophic in the background, with a musical cadency and plenty of black humor.
He started publishing in the year 1963, with the title "Frost". His last published work, appeared in the year 1986, was "Extinction". Some of his most well known works include "The loser" (where he ficitionalizes about Glenn Gould), "Correction" and "Woodcutters".
Thomas Bernhard is the author of books: The Loser, Wittgenstein's Nephew, Woodcutters, Correction, Concrete, Old Masters: A Comedy, Extinction, Gargoyles, Heldenplatz, Frost
One of Bernhard's most acclaimed novels, The Loser centers on a fictional relationship between piano virtuoso Glenn Gould and two of his fellow students who feel compelled to renounce their musical ambitions in the face of Gould's incomparable genius. One commits suicide, while the other—the obsessive, witty, and self-mocking narrator—has retreated into obscurity. Written as a monologue in one remarkable unbroken paragraph, The Loser is a brilliant meditation on success, failure, genius, and fame.
"Mr. Bernhard's portrait of a society in dissolution has a Scandinavian darkness reminiscent of Ibsen and Strindberg, but it is filtered through with a minimalist prose. . . . Woodcutters offers an unusually strange, intense, engrossing literary experience."—Mark Anderson, New York Times Book Review
"Musical, dramatic and set in Vienna, Woodcutters. . . .resembles a Strauss operetta with a libretto by Beckett."—Joseph Costes, Chicago Tribune
"Thomas Bernhard, the great pessimist-rhapsodist of German literature . . . never compromises, never makes peace with life. . . . Only in the pure, fierce isolation of his art can he get justice."—Michael Feingold, Village Voice
"In typical Bernhardian fashion the narrator is moved by hatred and affection for a society that he believes destroys the very artistic genius it purports to glorify. A superb translation."—Library Journal
"Certain books—few—assert literary importance instantly, profoundly. This new novel by the internationally praised but not widely known Austrian writer is one of those—a book of mysterious dark beauty . . . . [It] is overwhelming; one wants to read it again, immediately, to re-experience its intricate innovations, not to let go of this masterful work."—John Rechy, Los Angeles Times
"Rudolph is not obstructed by some malfunctions in part of his being—his being itself is a knot. And as Bernhard's narrative proceeds, we begin to register the dimensions of his crisis, its self-consuming circularity . . . . Where rage of this intensity is directed outward, we often find the sociopath; where inward, the suicide. Where it breaks out laterally, onto the page, we sometimes find a most unsettling artistic vision."—Sven Birkerts, The New Republic
The book is set in Vienna on one day around the year of its publication, 1985. Reger is an 82-year-old music critic who writes pieces for The Times. For over thirty years he has sat on the same bench in front of Tintoretto's White-bearded Man in the Bordone Room of the Kunsthistorisches Museum for four or five hours of the morning of every second day. He finds this environment the one in which he can do his best thinking. He is aided in this habit by the gallery attendant Irrsigler, who prevents other visitors from using the bench when Reger requires it.
Written in Bernhard's seamless style, Extinction is the ultimate proof of his extraordinary literary genius.
One morning a doctor and his son set out on daily rounds through the grim mountainous Austrian countryside. They observe the colorful characters they encounter—from an innkeeper whose wife has been murdered to a crippled musical prodigy kept in a cage—coping with physical misery, madness, and the brutality of the austere landscape. The parade of human grotesques culminates in a hundred-page monologue by an eccentric, paranoid prince, a relentlessly flowing cascade of words that is classic Bernhard.
A writer of world stature, Thomas Bernhard combined a searing wit and an unwavering gaze into the human condition. "Frost" follows an unnamed young Austrian who accepts an unusual assignment. Rather than continue with his medical studies, he travels to a bleak mining town in the back of beyond, in order to clinically observe the aged painter, Strauch, who happens to be the brother of this young man's surgical mentor. The catch is this: Strauch must not know the young man's true occupation or the reason for his arrival. Posing as a promising law student with a love of Henry James, the young man befriends the mad artist and is caught up among an equally extraordinary cast of local characters, from his resentful landlady to the town's mining engineers.
This debut novel by Thomas Bernhard, which came out in German in 1963 and is now being published in English for the first time, marks the beginning of what was one of the twentieth century's most powerful, provocative literary careers.