I have written about Thomas Bernhard’s novels before, but faced with prospect of writing a longer critical review of a book containing four short stories I was faced with a dilemma: What does one say about Bernhard?
The question really is: How much familiarity with Bernhard should one assume? He is, most definitely, a singular writer. Those of us who count ourselves among the converted tend to have bulging bookshelves filled with a healthy supply of Bernhard’s novels, memoirs and poetry. Others are uncertain or fail to be immediately captivated. A bit of Bernhard primer is thus in order for those potential new readers, especially in this instance, because Goethe Dies, the collection at hand, offers a perfect opportunity to experience the magic of the master in miniature. A treat I argue for readers no matter their degree of prior acquaintance.
So in the following review published at Numéro Cinq earlier this week I tried to balance my general discussion of Bernhard’s prose style to provide a context for the appreciation of my analysis of the stories that would not be too redundant for the experienced or too vague for the novice.
Here’s a taste of the review, please click through the link at the end to read the rest. And while you’re there have a look around. There is another great issue shaping up at NC.