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Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernhard's Extinction, 9 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Extinction: A Novel (Phoenix Fiction) (Paperback)
In Extinction Bernhard creates his most indulgent, and most inscrutable work since On the Mountain - the likes of which only he can muscle into great literature. These two works can very much be seen as the brackets around all of his work, the beginning and the end. Extinction is the pile driving of Correction and Gargoyles, the lyricism of Old Masters and The Loser, and the sustained climax of Yes. I may even choose one of those novels as his most important work, or my personal favorite - Extinction will never be remembered as an example of Bernhard's work - it's artistry might just be too profound to be very useful. Bernhard's last novel flows very much like the last movement of a dark symphony - it borrows phrases, and alludes to even his first published words, but it is very clearly the end. To one who has read the complete works of Bernhard and who has seen time and again his genius use devices and set motion upon everything from the merits of artistic expressions and intents, to in other works, the fabric of cognition and existence, to the very fabric of the words on the page - the very reason for the work Extinction becomes unclear. It is not like any of Bernhard's other works. Page after page it challenges the reader to give up. Its almost as if Bernhard left this work as a special gift for only those who could really interpret and appreciate his art. Sticking with Extinction while Bernhard is shooing you and the collective literary world away is the greatest artistic experience one can undertake - because in the end, when you are sure you are the only one on the planet who has stuck with him to the last, he leaves you with one of his greatest surprise gifts. One which will float by silently and smash you in the face at the same time. It is all - only how its done. Over drinks, my friend the author, Rick Whitaker once said, 'Bernhard is the only author who ever succeeded in removing himself from everything.' Or at least he should have.
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Initial post: 14 May 2012 13:48:14 BDT
ajay hogarth says:
Brilliant.
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