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Monday, May 15, 2017

Concrete (1982) by Thomas Bernhard


Book Review
Concrete (1982)
 by Thomas Bernhard

   There are so many Thomas Bernhard novels in the 1001 Books project between 1975 and 1990 that I missed Concrete, published in 1982, in all the hub-bub.   The editorial essay which accompanies the listing for Concrete in the 2006 edition of the 1001 Books project says that Concrete is in fact a "parody" of Bernhard's obsessive-compulsive style.  I would be hard pressed to agree with that assesment.  Like all other of Bernhard's novels, Concrete features a protagonist who speaks in a paragraph-less monologue, and shares all the common obsessions of all of the protagonists from all of Bernhard's novels on the 1001 Books list. To whit:

1.  Hate-loves his family.
2.  Hates Austria.
3.  Hates Austrians.
4.  Hates people.
5. Hates the modern world.

  That is Thomas Bernhard for you.  He hates modern life.  He hates modern society.  He hates the people around him.  He can't actually accomplish anything because he spends all his time indulging his peculiar obsessions  In Concrete, the protagonist is a wealthy heir who has spent a decade attempting to begin a monograph on an obscure composer.  This fact is essentially the only plot-like device in the entire book.  Other than the unwritten monograph, see above for the contents.

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