The Voice Imitator

Thomas Bernhard, Author, Kenneth J. Northcott, Translator, Jessica Helfand, Designed by University of Chicago Press $20 (104p) ISBN 978-0-226-04401-9
Less than half of the work of this remarkable Austrian novelist, playwright and critic (Wittgenstein's Nephew) has been translated into English, but these books have won him a loyal following here. Originally published in Austria in the 1970s, this collection of 104 parables (none longer than a page, some as brief as two sentences) will not disappoint his admirers. Supposedly drawn from newspaper accounts, hearsay and conversation, these mordant stories posit an ordinary world gone matter-of-factly bizarre. Like Kafka, another German-language master of the parable, Bernhard is interested in the intersection of the normal with the grotesque, the juxtaposition of the smoothly banal social surface with humankind's unrulier private impulses. ""To our horror, the very neighbor whom we had for decades thought of as the best-natured and hardest-working and, we always thought, the most contented of all our neighbors has turned out to be a murderer,"" begins one characteristic story. Others plumb the kind of obsessive, perversely romantic behavior that will be familiar to fans of Bernhard and his typical antiheroes. In ""Discovery,"" a Turin industrialist builds his son a magnificent hotel, only to abandon it when the young man is killed in an accident. In ""True Love,"" a wealthy Italian applies to the church for permission to marry the shop window mannequin that he adores. Whether skewering bureaucratic stupidity, exposing Eastern European political oppression or simply lambasting the indifference of the public to the work of his fellow artists, Bernhard--who died in 1989 at the age of 58--displays a delightfully light and sharp touch. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 114 pages - 978-0-226-04402-6
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.