by Gin, March 23, 2009 1:58 PM
Like much of his other work, Thomas Bernhard's The Loser has suicide at its core. Three men met and became friends while attending the Mozarteum in Vienna, and only one — the narrator — is still alive. The other two characters are a heavily fictionalized Glenn Gould (one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century) and the "loser" of the title, Wertheimer. Both the narrator and Wertheimer abandoned their art upon encountering Gould; Wertheimer ultimately commits suicide, and the narrator lives because he can't give up his obsession (unlike his piano) with Gould. Written as an unbroken interior monologue, The Loser is arguably as stunning as Gould's music.