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Wittgenstein's Nephew: A Friendship Paperback – 13 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 99 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books USA (13 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400077567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400077564
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 0.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By susanernest@beeb.net on 29 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
Bernhard always grabs me into a trancelike state of reading. Something about those long sentences, the repetitive, rythmical commentary on a process of increasing decay, just seems to captivate me. In this particular book, he is unusually concise and to the point, if that is possible with Bernhard. For Bernhard is a whiner on the grand scale, like Celine, but without Celine's particular madness. Bernhard has of course his own. He also has great insight, both about himself and others; he is unusually honest and completely free of sentimentality. He can be poignant, but without schmalz. Bodil Malmsten, a Swedish poet held in high regard, once remarked in an interview, that she found Bernhard's writing to be a sexual turn-on. I've sometimes tried to imagine that but I haven't made up my mind yet. Perhaps that would demand more maturity on the behalf of the reader, or possibly less...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
On sunny afternoon towards the end of June 96 I met a famous Austrian-American psychoanalyst in a bookstore near St Stephan's Dome in Vieanna. I am almost a fan of this analyst/author,after introducing myself (a psychiatrist attending an international conference where he was lecturing),he asked me what I was reading from Austrian authors and I mentioned the only name I knew -Arthur Schnitzler, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud. He said it was OK but had I heard about Thomas Bernhard ? That was the beginning of my relationship with T.B.. The only English title from T.B.'s works was "On the Mountain"; I bought a copy and as soon as I started reading I was in touch with a conglomerate of emotions- anger,"boredom", pain, sorrow, "emptiness" and a very skillfull reflection of probing the realm of self and others in terms of various levels of self representations. As for W.'s Nephew, I should admit it is rather an easy reading title amongst T.B.'s works. Here we have the extremes; body and psyche, mental "disorder" vs medical disease, living upto all or none... W.'s Nephew tries to undo wrongs by helping paupers to the extent of becoming peniless himself (which leads to another episode of "institutionalization" with his relatives' more than willing consent) or is able to mark an opera work with his applause (or silence) as fabulous (or kill it) at the end of a premier. While W.'s Nephew might be perceived as pure emotionality the protagonist represents the "rational mind". Their relationship is based on a very true friendship and conveyed on a stage of Vieennese cafes (Sacher, Havelka..), suburbs and hospitals. I recommenf this book for those who are interested in reading about human relations in a cotext of self and others during post modernity.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
Thomas Bernhard is no lover of humanity, but this is a very compassionate book. It is a sympathetic portrait of Paul Wittgenstein as well as of Bernhard himself. Bernhard comes across as rather crotchety, rather irritating, but quite stubborn in getting his point across. His ability to repeat himself - which intially leaves the reader wondering - is ultimately hilarious and endearing. This book is poignant, touching and eventually, sad.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Lever on 24 July 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favourite Bernhard novels. It is both funny and pessimistic at once, slamming the borgeois and literary worlds of Vienna, while examining the themes of mental and physical illness and the artistic temperament. And although this is a portrait of Paul Wittgenstein, nephew to Ludwig, it is also a largely revealing portrait of the artist. Bernhard's view of book awards is worthy of an award in itself! But, like The Loser, this novel seems to take real-life characters and twist them into fictional constructs (eg. Paul has both his arms); however, if you know a little of Paul Wittgenstein, then you will be able to spot the differences and realise that this truth-bending only goes to serve the narrative and the narrator beneficently. It is short, like most of his works, but naturally presented in the one-paragraph format that hypnotizes you and simply does not let you put the book down. This I would almost recommend as the perfect introduction to Bernhard ... either way, a cracking good read.
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