― Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Wednesday, 10 January 2007 19:46 (twelve years ago) link
― Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Thursday, 11 January 2007 19:26 (twelve years ago) link
― Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 11 January 2007 19:39 (twelve years ago) link
― Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 11 January 2007 20:41 (twelve years ago) link
― Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Friday, 12 January 2007 00:11 (twelve years ago) link
― Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 12 January 2007 04:39 (twelve years ago) link
― Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Friday, 12 January 2007 14:07 (twelve years ago) link
As a public service here is one of the stories from The Imitator in its entirety.
We had no luck with the weather the guests at our table were repellent in every respect. They even spoiled Neitzsche for us. Even after they had had a fatal car accident and had been laid out in the church at Sils , we still hated them.
His novel The Loser is also well worth looking out.
― Edward Trifle (Ned Trifle IV), Friday, 12 January 2007 14:10 (twelve years ago) link
― Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Friday, 12 January 2007 16:15 (twelve years ago) link
plus,read Sebald as well (Austerlitz,the immagrants) he is very much influenced by Bernahrd,but not as negative as Bernahrd is, with much more influence from Borges,Kafka,Nabokov.
― emekars (emekars), Saturday, 13 January 2007 00:20 (twelve years ago) link
― wmlynch (wlynch), Saturday, 13 January 2007 05:14 (twelve years ago) link
― emekars (emekars), Saturday, 13 January 2007 13:32 (twelve years ago) link
― emekars (emekars), Saturday, 13 January 2007 13:42 (twelve years ago) link
― vahid (vahid), Sunday, 14 January 2007 20:57 (twelve years ago) link
The length can be quite important because his novels (in my experience) resist your attempts to acquire them as a taste (although in my case they lost, badly).
It can be a bit like the "sucking stones" passage in Molloy, although not *all* the novels deliver that kind of comic payoff for your efforts.
So if starting out, perhaps a shorter one would be better.Of the shorter ones, Old Masters is very funny, and is one of a trilogy about theatre (Woodcutters), music (The Loser), and painting (OM itself).
Sebald is super, too. One of the instructive difference might be in the digressions, or lack of them. Sebald's novels don't foreground the particular gravitational schemes that they follow as they digress from A to B etc, but eventually appear to "go" somewhere; Bernhard novels are perhaps about an *inability* to truly *digress*.
― Harthill Services (Neil Willett), Tuesday, 16 January 2007 15:11 (twelve years ago) link
― Edward Trifle (Ned Trifle IV), Tuesday, 16 January 2007 21:04 (twelve years ago) link
― Virginia Allen (The Loser), Friday, 19 January 2007 20:46 (twelve years ago) link
― andrew s (andrew s), Sunday, 21 January 2007 17:06 (twelve years ago) link
on this topic, i do have a copy of The Loser, but i haven't read it yet. one of these days!
― scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 21 January 2007 17:54 (twelve years ago) link
― The Redd And The Blecch (Ken L), Tuesday, 23 January 2007 22:38 (twelve years ago) link
― xavier (xave), Thursday, 25 January 2007 13:45 (twelve years ago) link
well,Bernhard's influence comes from:1. Kafka2. Dostoyevski (especially "notes from the underground")3. Beckett ("The trilogy")4. Hamsun ("Hunger")5. Proust.6. Broch and Musil, in parts.7. Peter Handke8. Canetti (who is influenced by Kafka himself,closing a circle)
Sebald is influenced by Bernhard,adding:1. Borges2. Nabokov's memoir "speak,memory"3. Primo levi's Periodic trable4. Zeigfrid Lenz5. Claude simon.
also,writers who are similiar in a way in style and content:Saul below,Melcolm Lowry,Julio cortazar,Italo svevo,Bruno schultz.
feel free to add..
― conclusions (emekars), Wednesday, 31 January 2007 12:33 (twelve years ago) link
Go for Correction straightaway -- I think you'd know you'd like it within 20 pages or so.
Love this. Definitely not like Simon, Sebald, Cortazar (wtf?), he places people and things in a way Kafka doesn't, the humour in madness is of a different grain to Beckett's. Maybe she shares certain concerns with Broch and that complete and utter negation, where a needle in a haystack-like search is needed to find illumination...but really, its a particular voice.
― xyzzzz__, Saturday, 28 February 2009 12:53 (ten years ago) link
Old Masters was exceptional (well done Penguin for publishing), Cutting Timber had some high emotional moments.
Got Extinction. Won't start that for a while but was just thinking its over 300 pages, and whether Bernhard really works on a specific length, 150-250 pages at most, or whether the cranky comedy will carry you along (and he is one of the funniest writers, that's unexpected when you read about him).
― xyzzzz__, Thursday, 15 July 2010 12:56 (nine years ago) link
i've been thinking about reading this guy because i read Gaddis's "Agapē Agape" last week. The narrator of the book is floundering and halfway furious because Bernhard wrote the book he was going to write ("Concrete", i think) before he got round to it.
It’s my opening page, he’s plagiarized my work right here in front of me before I’ve ever written it!
― jed_, Thursday, 15 July 2010 19:34 (nine years ago) link
I just finished Gargoyles yesterday. It felt like a work that helped him ease into his monologue style as the second half is a 100-page monologue, but the first half involves several different characters. This, I think, makes it a fairly decent place to start with his novels. The Voice Imitator was interesting but felt radically different from his airless longer books.
I loved Correction and the Loser. Man, it's hard to believe I started this thread 3.5 years ago. To Sebald's influences upthread needs to be added: Robert Walser.
Here's a Bernhard interview from 86.
― wmlynch, Thursday, 15 July 2010 22:01 (nine years ago) link
I've got one or two you can borrow if you like, jed_
― kim jong-ill (cozen), Thursday, 15 July 2010 22:03 (nine years ago) link
definitely, coz, cheers.
― jed_, Friday, 16 July 2010 03:14 (nine years ago) link
no worries, I'll look them (? I'm sure I have two) out
― kim jong-ill (cozen), Friday, 16 July 2010 08:51 (nine years ago) link
Thanks for the link to that interview -- and how really very much like his fiction. And very funny, like his fiction (high points were the bits going up to the 'Oh please!' as a response to a question about his poetry, and the attack on Thomas Mann).
I thought he'd put on more of a mask.
― xyzzzz__, Friday, 16 July 2010 11:33 (nine years ago) link
yeah I've got 'correction' and 'the loser' - think I might actually have a third now around here somewhere - anyway will drop them into you
― kim jong-ill (cozen), Friday, 16 July 2010 16:19 (nine years ago) link
One other thing about that interview - at one point Bernhard is asked:
Your style is so distinctive that it has prompted numerous pastiches and parodies...
Does anyone know of an author who has done a pastiche?
By coincidence I was just reading about Horacio Castellanos Moya: he has published a book called El asco, Thomas Bernhard en El Salvador (untranslated, wiki says it is a tribute to Bernhard)
― xyzzzz__, Friday, 16 July 2010 21:26 (nine years ago) link
His book, Senselessness, definitely owes a stylistic debt to Bernhard but is not a pastiche.
― wmlynch, Friday, 16 July 2010 21:45 (nine years ago) link
― puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 16 July 2010 21:47 (nine years ago) link
Was just reading about Senselessness. Sounds great.
― xyzzzz__, Friday, 16 July 2010 21:55 (nine years ago) link
more like suckhard
― buzza, Saturday, 17 July 2010 03:32 (nine years ago) link
i read most of Bernhard but still didnt read limeworks and woodcutters.
which of the two is better?
― Zeno, Sunday, 29 August 2010 16:07 (nine years ago) link
Woodcutters is a beautiful (good stuff on Woolf and the theatre) but I've not read Limeworks.
Zeno have you read Yaakov Shabtai (I've filled out an ILL for Past Continuous)?
― xyzzzz__, Sunday, 29 August 2010 22:04 (nine years ago) link
yes, Past Continuous is one of my favourite novels. and it's an Israeli classic.Shabtai was a talented, unique writer. too bad so many mediocre imitators followed him.
― Zeno, Sunday, 29 August 2010 23:09 (nine years ago) link
Bernhard and Shabtai shared some aspects of pessimistic philosphy notions , but they differ in style.
― Zeno, Sunday, 29 August 2010 23:21 (nine years ago) link
They both wrote in a paragraphless style, right? (although from the little I have read that is broken up a bit in the English version)
― xyzzzz__, Monday, 30 August 2010 09:28 (nine years ago) link
Piece in the LRB
― xyzzzz__, Thursday, 28 October 2010 17:43 (eight years ago) link
this news story is straight out of bernhard:
― seb mooczag (NickB), Tuesday, 5 January 2016 20:51 (three years ago) link
Jelinek is still around so god knows what she can do w/that.
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 5 January 2016 21:00 (three years ago) link
"Everything in an intellectual mind is anarchy."
― xyzzzz__, Sunday, 28 August 2016 21:51 (three years ago) link
reading the abish memoir and the part where abish reads bernhard in vienna making me want some bernhard.
― scott seward, Sunday, 28 August 2016 22:28 (three years ago) link
This is an indepedent translation of a book published a few years ago by his estate agent (and Bernhard's friend for about a decade), an account of many conversations with Bernhard.
Only have the 1st part so far (covering Jan '72) but its often really fucking funny in places.
― xyzzzz__, Monday, 4 February 2019 22:34 (seven months ago) link
OK, this is hilarious.
― Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Tuesday, 5 February 2019 00:25 (seven months ago) link
We’ve often spoken about his death before. He’s changed his mind three times about where he wants to be buried. First it was Vienna, then Ohlsdorf, and now it’s Neukirchen bei Altmünster. During such conversations Thomas has repeatedly stressed that suicide, which is certainly the way that other people think he’s most likely to die, is something he’ll never commit no matter what. He isn’t about to do the world such a favor. Now he didn’t contradict me. He said that in the event of such a serious accident resulting in the loss of a leg, it would all be over for him, literally and completely over, because walking for hours on end is something he’s quite simply got to do. Thomas rolls up the two pairs of trousers so that he can take them with him to use in washing up and DIY work later on.
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 5 February 2019 08:53 (seven months ago) link