Concrete by Bernhard, Thomas; McLintock, David

By Bernhard, Thomas; McLintock, David

Rather than the e-book he is intended to put in writing, Rudolph, a Viennese musicologist, produces this darkish and grotesquely humorous account of small woes writ huge, of profound horrors precise and rehearsed to the purpose of distraction. We research of Rudolph's sister, whose aid he invitations, then reviles as malevolent meddling; his 'really remarkable' condo, which he hates; the suspicious affliction he conscientiously nurses; his ten-year-long Read more...

summary: rather than the publication he is intended to jot down, Rudolph, a Viennese musicologist, produces this darkish and grotesquely humorous account of small woes writ huge, of profound horrors precise and rehearsed to the purpose of distraction. We research of Rudolph's sister, whose support he invitations, then reviles as malevolent meddling; his 'really terrific' condominium, which he hates; the suspicious sickness he rigorously nurses; his ten-year-long try to write the proper beginning sentence; and, ultimately, his get away to the island of Majorca, which seems to be the location of somebody else's very actual horror tale. an excellent and haunting story of procrastination, failure, and melancholy, Concrete is an ideal instance of why Thomas Bernhard is remembered as "one of the masters of up to date eu fiction" (George Steiner)

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Sample text

I’m not going to write it just for my own satisfaction, after all, and then leave it lying around when it’s finished. Naturally I intend to publish it, whatever the consequences. For I actually believe that this work will be my most successful, or rather my least unsuccessful. I certainly am thinking of publishing it! But before I can publish it I have to write it, I thought, and at this thought I burst into a fit of laughter, of what I call self-laughter, to which I have become prone over the years through being constantly alone.

Such goings-on revolt me. But they are typical of the so-called upper crust, to which it has been my sister’s life-long endeavour to belong. A mere count had to have great charm and infinite wealth for my sister to converse with him for any length of time; her normal behaviour she reserved for nothing less than princes. I don’t know where she gets this dreadful madness from. I’ve often wondered whether there’s anything the least bit natural about a person like her. On the other hand there are times when suddenly, from one moment to the next, my attitude to her becomes one of admiration.

Fifteen or sixteen years ago, when I had some connection with him, admittedly only slight, he asked my sister whether, in return for eight hundred thousand schillings in cash, she would furnish an apartment for him. My sister agreed and furnished the Monsignor’s apartment exclusively with renaissance furniture from Florence and late eighteenth century Austrian pieces from two Marchfeld castles that had come her way. When the commission was completed she threw a party for him which was attended by fifty hand-picked guests, the lowliest among them being an Irish earl.

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