LRB BOOKSHOP’S AUTHOR OF THE MONTH
ONE OF THE GUARDIAN’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
‘If you haven’t read Bernhard, you will not know of the most radical advance in fiction since Joyce … My advice: dive in.’ Lucy Ellmann
‘I absolutely love Bernhard: he is one of the darkest and funniest writers … A must read for everybody.’ Karl Ove Knausgaard
Mid-century Austria. Three aspiring concert pianists – Wertheimer, Glenn Gould, and the narrator – have dedicated their lives to achieving the status of a virtuoso. But one day, two of them overhear Gould playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and his incomparable genius instantly destroys them both.
They are forced to abandon their musical ambitions: Wertheimer, over a tortured process of disintegration that sees him becoming obsessed with both writing and his own sister, with whom he has a quasi-incestuous relationship culminating in death; and the narrator, instantly, retreating into obscurity to write a book that he periodically destroys and restarts.
Written as a monologue in one remarkable unbroken paragraph, Thomas Bernhard’s dazzling meditation on failure, genius, and fame is a radical new reading experience: musical, paralysing, raging, and inimitable.