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About This Book
A gathering of brilliant and viciously funny recollections from one of the twentieth century’s most famous literary enfants terribles.

Written in 1980 but published here for the first time, these texts tell the story of the various farces that developed around the literary prizes Thomas Bernhard received in his lifetime. Whether it was the Bremen Literature Prize, the Grillparzer Prize, or the Austrian State Prize, his participation in the acceptance ceremony—always less than gracious, it must be said—resulted in scandal (only at the awarding of the prize from Austria’s Federal Chamber of Commerce did Bernhard feel at home: he received that one, he said, in recognition of the great example he set for shopkeeping apprentices). And the remuneration connected with the prizes presented him with opportunities for adventure—of the new-house and luxury-car variety.

Here is a portrait of the writer as a prizewinner: laconic, sardonic, and shaking his head with biting amusement at the world and at himself. A revelatory work of dazzling comedy, the pinnacle of Bernhardian art.


From the Hardcover edition.
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A gathering of brilliant and viciously funny recollections from one of the twentieth century’s most famous literary enfants terribles.

Written in 1980 but published here for the first time, these texts tell the story of the various farces that developed around the literary prizes Thomas Bernhard received in his lifetime. Whether it was the Bremen Literature Prize, the Grillparzer Prize, or the Austrian State Prize, his participation in the acceptance ceremony—always less than gracious, it must be said—resulted in scandal (only at the awarding of the prize from Austria’s Federal Chamber of Commerce did Bernhard feel at home: he received that one, he said, in recognition of the great example he set for shopkeeping apprentices). And the remuneration connected with the prizes presented him with opportunities for adventure—of the new-house and luxury-car variety.

Here is a portrait of the writer as a prizewinner: laconic, sardonic, and shaking his head with biting amusement at the world and at himself. A revelatory work of dazzling comedy, the pinnacle of Bernhardian art.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
eBook (144 pages)
Published: November 23, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307594235
Other books byThomas Bernhard
  • The Loser

    The Loser
    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.

    Extinction

    Extinction
    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. Extinction, Bernhard's last published novel, is the story of Franz-Josef Murau-intellectual black sheep of a powerful Austrian land-owning family-who lives in Rome in self-imposed exile, surrounded by a coterie of artistic and intellectual friends. On returning from his sister's wedding 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.

    Extinction

    Extinction
    A Novel
    The last work of fiction by one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists, Extinction is widely considered Thomas Bernhard’s magnum opus.   Franz-Josef Murau—the intellectual black sheep of a powerful Austrian land-owning family—lives in Rome in self-imposed exile, surrounded by a coterie of artistic and intellectual friends. On returning from his sister’s wedding 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. Written in the seamless, mesmerizing style for which Bernhard was famous, Extinction is the ultimate proof of his extraordinary literary genius.

    Concrete

    Concrete
    Instead of the book he’s 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 Rudolph’s 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 else’s 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).

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