I’d read wildly different reviews of a Thomas Bernhard book. One review was overwhelmingly positive while another review thought the same book (THE OLD MASTERS) pointless. After reading both reviews and salient quotes, I leaned towards the pointless reaction, but then again, the reviewersâ€™ reactions to the same book were so different, I was curious to try a Bernhard novel. This brings me to CONCRETE, and after reading it, I now understand how this author could provoke such vastly different reactions from readers.
WOODCUTTERS, originally written as part of a trilogy, is Bernhardâ€™s diatribe about his disgust, revulsion, loathing, hatred and vilification of the hypocrites and losers that make up the art circle in Vienna from the 1950â€™s through the 1980â€™s. In his unique style, with not one paragraph in nearly 200 pages, this novel is told primarily in stream of consciousness from the viewpoint of a writer, one not unlike Bernhard himself. The novel is in three identifiable parts â€“ the writer sitting in a wing chair observing a dinner party, the writer discussing his relationship with a recently deceased friend, and the conversations of an actor during dinner.
Thomas Bernhard is a wonderful wordsmith. He weaves his story in riffs like jazz motifs or the most beautiful of tapestries. In a tapestry, there may be repeat stitches but the colors and gauge change, the dynamic conspires to grow and become something else just as it is being created. Like a weaver or jazz musician, Bernhard repeats the essence of his message in many ways, giving the reader a marvelous opportunity to see into the protagonist’s mind. He is a natural story teller.
December 21, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1960s, 1970s, Friendship, Real People Fiction, Thomas Bernhard Â· Posted in: Austria, Classic, Facing History, Translated, Unique Narrative, World Lit