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LRB BOOKSHOP’S AUTHOR OF THE MONTH
ONE OF THE GUARDIAN’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY MICHAEL HOFMANN
‘If you haven’t read Bernhard, you will not know of the most radical advance in fiction since Joyce … My advice: dive in.’ Lucy Ellmann
‘I absolutely love Bernhard: he is one of the darkest and funniest writers … A must read for everybody.’ Karl Ove Knausgaard
Instead of the book he is meant to write, Rudolph, a Viennese musicologist, produces this dark and grotesquely funny account of small woes writ large, of profound horrors detailed and rehearsed to the point of distraction. We learn of Rudolph’s sister, whose help he invites then reviles; his ‘really marvellous’ house which he hates; the suspicious illness he carefully nurses; his ten-year-long attempt to write the perfect opening sentence; and his escape to the island of Majorca, which turns out to be the site of someone else’s very real horror story, and ultimately brings him no release from himself.
Concrete is Thomas Bernhard at his very finest: a bleakly hilarious insight into procrastination and failure that scratches the murky depths of our souls.
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