Gathering Evidence: Mem

Thomas Bernhard, Author Alfred A. Knopf $19.95 (340p) ISBN 978-0-394-54707-7
For all its occasional shrillness and repetitiousness, and its denunciations of ""society,'' ``community'' and ``education'' in terms of passionate generality, this unparagraphed outpouring of reflection and recollected experience by Austria's most prestigious novelist-dramatist is a work of extraordinary impact. Born out of wedlock, of a father whose name he was forbidden to mention and a mother who considered him ``worthless,'' Bernhard spent his early life in a state of torment made bearable only by his musical studies and the love of his grandfather, a failed writer and social outcast. From a Nazi boarding school, he went to a Catholic grammar school which was scarcely less oppressive. At 15 he made the liberating decision to work in a grocer's shop catering to destitutes; but in his 19th year he contracted pneumonia, then tuberculosis, and his grandfather and mother died in quick succession. From the ashes of pain and chaos, however, arose his will to writedespite his conviction that words cannot communicate the truth. Bernhard has been justly compared to Kafka and Beckett; he shares the same bleak, unflinching, ultimately bracing vision.(January 27)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17844-7
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-679-73809-1
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-09-944253-0
Paperback - 408 pages - 978-1-4000-7762-5
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