All Things Considered: Thomas Bernhard, The Loser

'[The Loser is] obsessing unflinchingly about the things that have always obsessed me'
Thomas Bernhard, The Loser
Claire Messud reviews Thomas Bernhard's novel The Loser in a 2007 edition of NPR's All Things Considered: 'I picked up Wittgenstein's Nephew by chance in the American Library in Paris, early in '99, and read it in an afternoon, a mesmerized afternoon in which I ought to have been writing fiction, but could not stop myself from reading. / Then I picked up The Loser, and was not only mesmerized, and horrified, but felt, also, profoundly spoken to: here was a book — a ranting monologue, more naturally than a novel — obsessing unflinchingly about the things that have always obsessed me. About art, and ambition, and failure, and delusion, and death. / It is a book about anger. A book without paragraphs, which in its very form enacts anger. A book prone to wildly long sentences, preposterously violent judgments and enraging constructions. A deeply musical novel, about music — about Glenn Gould, or a fictional Glenn Gould, with all the structural complexity of The Goldberg Variations, to which allusions are repeatedly made. The Loser is willfully oppressive and agonizing to read, hilarious and awful by turns. And, above all, it couldn't care less about the reader.' [Listen]

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