Concrete (Vintage International) by Thomas Bernhard

By Thomas Bernhard

Rather than the ebook he’s intended to jot down, Rudolph, a Viennese musicologist, produces this darkish and grotesquely humorous account of small woes writ huge, of profound horrors distinctive 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’ apartment, which he hates; the suspicious disorder he conscientiously nurses; his ten-year-long try to write the correct starting sentence; and, eventually, his get away to the island of Majorca, which seems to be the positioning of somebody else’s very actual horror story.
 
A incredible 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 ecu fiction” (George Steiner).

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Additional resources for Concrete (Vintage International)

Example text

I said to myself again, but I have no friend, and I know why I have no friend. A woman friend! I exclaimed, so loudly that the hall echoed, but I have no woman friend either; I quite deliberately have no woman friend, since that would mean giving up all my intellectual ambitions. One can’t have a woman friend and at the same time have intellectual ambitions if one’s general condition is as bad as mine. There’s no question of having a woman friend and intellectual ambitions! Either I have the one or I have the other; to have both is impossible.

I know she talks like this about me and gets me an exceedingly damaging reputation everywhere. She recoils from nothing in order to get money, that is to do business, and rather than ruin a party she’d call me anything. She has no scruples, and she can behave abominably. On the other hand I’ve always loved her, with all her dreadful faults — loved her and hated her. Sometimes I’ve loved her more than I’ve hated her, and vice versa, but most of the time I’ve hated her because she’s always acted against me, quite consciously, by which I mean clear-mindedly, for her clear-mindedness has always been beyond question.

In the society I mix with there are living people, in yours there are only dead people. Because you’re afraid of the living, she said, because you’re not willing to make the least commitment, the commitment that has to be made if one wants to associate with living people. You sit here in your house, which is nothing but a morgue, and cultivate the society of the dead, of mother and father and our unfortunate sister and all your so-called great minds. It’s frightening! In fact she’s right, it now seems to me; what she says is true.

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