Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 1970 - Fiction - 208 pages
4 Reviews
Early one morning a doctor sets out with his son on his daily rounds through the forbidding mountainous countryside. Their visits, a succession of grotesque portraits—a diabetic industrialist living in incestuous isolation with his half-sister; three brothers, occupying a mill set in a deep gorge, who have just strangled a bevy of exotic birds; a crippled musical prodigy whose sister locks him in a cage—lead them to a castle and a paranoid prince, whose "almost uninterrupted monologue for a hundred pages is a virtuoso verbal performance . . . [in] an extraordinary, somber first novel."—A.C. Foote, Book World

"What he shares with the best of [writers such as Sartre, Camus, Mann, and Kafka] is the ability to extract more than utter gloom from his landscape of inconceivable devastation. While the external surface of life is unquestionably grim, he somehow suggests more—the mystic element in experience that calls for symbolic interpretation; the inner significance of states that are akin to surrealistic dream-worlds; man's yearning for health, compassion, sanity."—Robert Maurer, The Saturday Review

"The feeling grows that Thomas Bernhard is now the most original, concentrated novelist writing in German. His connections . . . with the great constellation of Kafka, Musil, and Broch become ever clearer."—George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement

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User Review  - SqueakyChu - LibraryThing

This is a book I chose for myself having seen some by this author on the shelves of my library. I knew nothing about the author other than the book was translated from German. After learning that ... Read full review

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User Review  - JimElkins - LibraryThing

My introduction to Benrhard. A real Victorian catalog of horrors as a boy follows his father, a country doctor, on a tour of blighted, stunted, and cursed communities. It is relentless to the point of ... Read full review

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About the author (1970)

Thomas Bernhard was born to Austrian parents in Holland and reared by his mother in the vicinity of Salzburg. His temperament and erratic health created difficulties for him as he grew up in a society governed by National Socialists. Bernhard found the alpine landscapes of his native Austria far more harsh than lyrical. The isolation of the characters in his novels is only slightly mitigated by friendship, generally only between men, and never by love. Yet many readers feel this lack of sentimentality gives Bernhard's work an epic power.

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