Click here to go to our home page!
 70s
 80s
 90s
BC 
Google
WWW  Super70s Awesome80s
FORUMS | Culture | Movies | Music | News | Sports | Sci/Tech | Timeline | TV


 

The Loser by Thomas Bernhard

By Hollis Giamatteo

For music lovers, perfectionists, and estheticians, Thomas Bernhard's The Loser (1983) poses an irresistible drama of failed excellence. In 1953 three friends, among whom is the famed Glenn Gould, study with Horowitz. Rarely sleeping, hardly eating, they burn intensely with the white and ruthless flame of virtuosity. Only Gould ascends. But this is no conventional narrative--neat, action-driven, or linear. It opens with the specter of death--Gould's at 51, and a suicide. Art exalts even as it destroys, when the aspirant is found wanting. Both Wertheimer, the suicide, and the narrator turn their backs on their musical careers, thus triggering their process of "deterioration." What is the consequence of throwing it all away? And yet, what are the rewards of realized genius? After Gould becomes, indeed, Glenn Gould, the two friends go to visit him in Canada. "He had barricaded himself in his house. For life. All our lives the three of us have shared the desire to barricade ourselves from the world. All three of us were born barricade fanatics."

Bernhard fans will recognize the restrained rant, the execution of an idea carried to a logical, caustic extreme. The rant creates, of the novel, a grand philosophical speculation: What is devotion to one's art? What is it to truly understand one's art and to not misuse one's gift? And, alas, The Loser can also be read as the profound consequence of perfectionism, whereby all efforts to create or execute anything of note are squashed in the critical mind's ruthless self-scrutiny. The narrator works, for example, on his Glenn Gould essay for nine years, grateful, in the end, that he has published nothing. "How good it is that none of these imperfect, incomplete works has ever appeared, I thought, had I published them.... [T]oday I would be the unhappiest person imaginable, confronted daily with disastrous works crying out with errors, imprecision, carelessness, amateurishness." The one regenerative act seems to be that of self-destruction. Destruction, indeed, becomes the flip side of perfectionist rigor. Thomas Bernhard (1931-89) was his own unique genius and in The Loser, one of his most acclaimed novels, he creates a chilling portrait of tragic compulsion, teasing and testing our assumptions human behavior.

 

 

Share Your Memories!

Do you have anything interesting to share about The Loser by Thomas Bernhard? Can you write a better review than what we have here? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)


 

NOVEL IDEAS

Author: Thomas Bernhard

Released: 1983

Awards: 

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback


Find Thomas Bernhard books on eBay!
Find The Loser on eBay!

Register on eBay for free today and start buying & selling with millions each week!

   
FORUMS | Culture | Movies | Music | News | Sports | Sci/Tech | Timeline | TV



Copyright 1994-2017, Awesome80s.com. All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
Privacy Statement
Review copyright Amazon.com and used by permission.