Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) has been hailed by Gabriel Josipovici as 'Austria's finest postwar writer' and by George Steiner as 'one of the masters of contemporary European fiction.' Faber Finds is proud to reissue a selection of four of Bernhard's finest novels.The Loser centres 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.
For five years, Konrad has imprisoned himself and his crippled wife in an abandoned lime works where hes conducted odd auditory experiments and prepared to write his masterwork, The Sense of Hearing. As the story begins, hes just blown the head off his wife with the Mannlicher carbine she kept strapped to her wheelchair. The murder and the bizarre life that led to it are the subject of a mass of hearsay related by an unnamed life-insurance salesman in a narrative as mazy, byzantine, and mysterious as the lime works--Konrads sanctuary and tomb.
From the late Thomas Bernhard, arguably Austria's most influential novelist of the postwar period, and one of the greatest artists in all twentieth-century literature in the German language, his magnum opus.
Extinction, Bernhard's last work of fiction, takes the form of the autobiographical testimony of Franz-Josef Murau, the intellectual black sheep of a powerful Austrian land-owning family. Murau lives in Rome in self-imposed exile from his family, surrounded by a coterie of artistic and intellectual friends. On returning from his sister's wedding to the "wine-cork manufacturer" on the family estate of Wolfsegg, having resolved never to go home again, Murau receives a telegram informing him of the death of his parents and brother in a car crash. Not only must he now go back, he must do so as the master of Wolfsegg. And he must decide its fate.
Divided into two halves, Extinction explores Murau's rush of memories of Wolfsegg as he stands at his Roman window considering the fateful telegram, in counterpoint to his return to Wolfsegg and the preparations for the funeral itself.
Written in the seamless style for which Bernhard became famous, Extinction is the ultimate proof of his extraordinary literary genius. It is his summing-up against Austria's treacherous past and -- in unprecedented fashion -- a revelation of his own incredibly complex personality, of his relationship with the world in which he lived, and the one he left behind.
A literary event of the first magnitude.
Instead of the book hes meant to write, Rudolph, a Viennese musicologist, produces this dark and grotesquely funny account of small woes writ large, of profound horrors detailed and rehearsed to the point of distraction. We learn of Rudolphs sister, whose help he invites, then reviles as malevolent meddling; his really marvelous house, which he hates; the suspicious illness he carefully nurses; his ten-year-long attempt to write the perfect opening sentence; and, finally, his escape to the island of Majorca, which turns out to be the site of someone elses very real horror story.
A brilliant and haunting tale of procrastination, failure, and despair, Concrete is a perfect example of why Thomas Bernhard is remembered as one of the masters of contemporary European fiction (George Steiner).
Roithamer, a character based on Wittgenstein, has committed suicide having been driven to madness by his own frightening powers of pure thought. We witness the gradual breakdown of a genius ceaselessly compelled to correct and refine his perceptions until the only logical conclusion is the negation of his own soul.
Thomas Bernhard, one of the most distinct, celebrated, and perverse of 20th century writers, took his own life in 1989. Perhaps the greatest Austrian writer of the 20th century, Bernhard's vision in novels like Cutting Timber was relentlessly bleak and comically nihilistic. His prose is torrential and his stlye unmistakable. Bernhard is the missing link between Kafka, Beckett, Michel Houellebecq and Lars von Trier; without Bernhard the literature of alienation and self-contempt would be bereft of its great practitioner.Cutting Timber: An Irritation is widely recognised as his masterpiece. Over the course of a few hours, following a performance of Ibsen's The Wild Duck, we are in the company of the Auersbergers, and our narrator, who never once leaves the relative comfort of his 'wing-backed chair' where he sips at a glass of champagne. As they anticpate the arrival of the star actor, and the commencement of dinner, the narrator of Cutting Timber dismantles the hollow pretentiousness at the heart of the Austrian bourgeoisie. The effect is devastating; the horror only redeemed by the humour.
Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) has been hailed by Gabriel Josipovici as 'Austria's finest postwar writer' and by George Steiner as 'one of the masters of contemporary European fiction.' Faber Finds is proud to reissue a selection of four of Bernhard's finest novels.Wittgenstein's Nephew (1982) opens in 1967 as two men lie bedridden in separate wings of a Viennese hospital. The narrator, Thomas Bernhard, is stricken with a lung ailment; his friend Paul, nephew of Ludwig Wittgenstein, is suffering from one of his periodic bouts of madness. As their once-casual friendship quickens, these eccentric men begin to see in each other a possible antidote to their feelings of hopelessness and mortality, on the unexpected strength of what they hold in common.'Furious, obsessive, scathing, absolutely hilarious and oddly beautiful.' Claire Messud, Salon'A memento mori that approaches genius.' Richard Locke, Wall Street Journal