by Gin, December 9, 2008 9:50 AM
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.