Synopses & Reviews
Early one morning a doctor sets out with his son on his daily rounds through the forbidding mountainous countryside. Their visits, a succession of grotesque portraits--a diabetic industrialist living in incestuous isolation with his half-sister; three brothers, occupying a mill set in a deep gorge, who have just strangled a bevy of exotic birds; a crippled musical prodigy whose sister locks him in a cage--lead them to a castle and a paranoid prince, whose almost uninterrupted monologue for a hundred pages is a virtuoso verbal performance . . . [in] an extraordinary, somber first novel.--A.C. Foote, Book World
What he shares with the best of [writers such as Satre, Camus, Mann, and Kafka] is the ability to extract more than utter gloom from his landscape of inconceivable devastation. While the external surface of life is unquestionably grim, he somehow suggests more--the mystic element in experience that calls for symbolic interpretation; the inner significance of states that are akin to surrealistic dream-worlds; man's yearning for health, compassion, sanity.--Robert Maurer, The Saturday Review
The feeling grows that Thomas Bernhard is now the most original, concentrated novelist writing in German. His connections . . . with the great constellation of Kafka, Musil, and Broch become ever clearer.--George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement
The playwright and novelist Thomas Bernhard was one of the most widely translated and admired writers of his generation, winner of the three most coveted literary prizes in Germany. Gargoyles, one of his earliest novels, is a singular, surreal study of the nature of humanity.One morning a doctor and his son set out on daily rounds through the grim mountainous Austrian countryside. They observe the colorful characters they encounter -- from an innkeeper whose wife has been murdered to a crippled musical prodigy kept in a cage -- coping with physical misery, madness, and the brutality of the austere landscape. The parade of human grotesques culminates in a hundred-page monologue by an eccentric, paranoid prince, a relentlessly flowing cascade of words that is classic Bernhard.
About the Author
THOMAS BERNHARD was born in Holland in 1931 and grew up in Austria. He studied music at the Akademie Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 1957 he began a second career, as a playwright, poet, and novelist. The winner of the three most distinguished and coveted literary prizes awarded in Germany, he has become one of the most widely translated and admired writers of his generation. His novels published in English include Gargoyles, The Lime Works, Correction, Concrete, Woodcutters, and Wittgenstein's Nephew; a number of his plays have been produced off Broadway, at the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and at theaters in London and throughout Europe. The five segments of his memoir were published in one volume, Gathering Evidence, in 1985. Thomas Bernhard died in 1989.