LRB BOOKSHOP’S AUTHOR OF THE MONTH
ONE OF THE GUARDIAN’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY BEN LERNER, AUTHOR OF THE TOPEKA SCHOOL
‘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
It is 1967. Two men lie bedridden in separate wings of a Viennese hospital. The narrator, Thomas Bernhard, is stricken with a lung ailment; his friend Paul, nephew of Ludwig Wittgenstein, is suffering from one of his periodic bouts of madness. As their friendship quickens, these two eccentric men discover in each other an antidote to their feelings of despair on the unexpected strength of what they share – a spiritual symmetry forged by their love of music, black humour, disgust for bourgeois Vienna, and fear of mortality.
A restless blend of fiction and memoir, Wittgenstein’s Nephew is not only a haunting meditation on the artist’s struggle to maintain a foothold on reality, but an impassioned eulogy to a real-life friendship – newly illuminated by Ben Lerner’s afterword.