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Extinction (Phoenix Fiction)
Synopses & Reviews
Thomas Bernhard is one of the greatest twentieth-century writers in the German language. Extinction, his last novel, takes the form of the autobiographical testimony of Franz-Josef Murau. The intellectual black sheep of a powerful Austrian land-owning family, Murau lives in Rome in self-exile. Obsessed and angry with his identity as an Austrian, he resolves never to return to the family estate of Wolfsegg. But when news comes of his parents' deaths, he finds himself master of Wolfsegg and must decide its fate.
Written in Bernhard's seamless style, Extinction is the ultimate proof of his extraordinary literary genius.
"Strangely gripping. The glue that holds his remarkable novel together is the unique virtuosity of his imaginative prose, a highly original kind of writing that resembles musical patterns of theme, variations and recapitulation."and#8212;Steve Dowden, Washington Times
"With a breathtaking sustained intensity . . . Bernhard assaults through the voice of Murau the modern world as exemplified by his birthplace, Austria."and#8212;Thomas McGonigle, Chicago Tribune Books
"Perfectly balanced and continually interesting. . . . The particular fineness of Extinction lies in its depiction of a consciousness in action."and#8212;Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
"Bernhard's distinctive style . . . is caught with quite remarkable fidelity in David McLintock's excellent translation . . . . The work of a master."and#8212;W.E. Yates, New York Times Book Review
"When Thomas Bernhard died, Austria lost one of its bravest authors . . . . David McLintock's translation . . . is exquisite. It presents an English far richer than most English language books . . . . Fresh, disturbed and punchy."and#8212;Benjamin Weissman, Los Angeles Times
"Like Swift, Bernhard writes like a sacred monster....A remarkable literary performer: he goes to extremes in ways that vivify our sense of human possibilities, however destructive". — Richard Locke, Wall Street Journal
"The excellence of Bernard — and it is a kind virtuosity, ably maintained in this American translation — is to make his monotonous loathing not only sting but also, like Gould at the piano, sing". — Paul Griffiths, Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) grew up in Salzburg and Vienna, where he studied music. In 1957 he began a second career as a playwright, poet, and novelist. He went on to win many of the most prestigious literary prizes of Europe (including the Austrian State Prize, the Bremen and Brand#252;chner prizes, and Le Prix Sand#233;guier), became one of the most widely admired writers of his generation, and insisted at his death that none of his works be published in Austria for seventy years, a provision later repealed by his half-brother.
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