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The Piano Teacherby Elfriede Jelinek
Though long a respected (and controversial) figure on the international literary stage, it was not until she won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature that Elfriede Jelinek became well known on this side of the Atlantic. The Piano Teacher is her most famous work. Erika Kohut is a repressed music instructor at a Viennese conservatory who, though she is approaching middle age, still lives with her mother in an apartment where they enjoy a relationship of suffocating mutual contempt. Enter Walter Klemmer, one of Erika's young students, who begins to pursue his teacher obsessively. He ultimately succeeds, and, in doing so, removes the last obstacle to the destruction of something that had been breaking for a long time... and no one is the better for it.
Synopses & Reviews
Erika Kohut teaches piano at the Vienna Conservatory by day. But by night she trawls the porn shows of Vienna while her mother, whom she loves and hates in equal measure, waits up for her.
Into this emotional pressure-cooker bounds music student and ladies' man, Walter Klemmer. With Walter as her student, Erika spirals out of control, consumed by the ecstasy of self-destruction.
First published in 1983, The Piano Teacher is the masterpiece of Elfriede Jelinek, Austria's most famous writer. Now a feature film directed by Michael Haneke, The Piano Teacher won three major prizes at the Cannes 2001 Festival including best actor for Benoit Magimel and best actress for Isabelle Huppert.
"The Piano Teacher is an exploration of fascism, not so much in the political sense as in the personal. In Joachim Neugroschel's excellent translation, the language is simple yet full of imaginative, often funny metaphors, the view of the world original, if at times almost painfully bizarre." New York Times Book Review
"A dazzling performance that will make the blood run cold." Walter Abish
"A brilliant, bitter, wonderful portrait of mother and daughter, artist and lover." John Hawkes
"A brilliant, uncompromising book." Publishers Weekly
Erika Kohut, a 40-year-old is a piano teacher who still lives with her mother. While her mother waits up for her, Erika trawls the seedy side of contemporary Vienna, visiting porn shows and peep shows. Her Jekyll and Hyde existence is disturbed by a handsome young piano student.
About the Author
Elfriede Jelinek was born in Austria in 1946 and grew up in Vienna where she attended the famous Music Conservatory. The leading Austrian writer of her generation, she has been awarded the Heinrich Boll Prize for her contribution to German-language literature.
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