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Frost Paperback – 8 Jan 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc; Reprint edition (8 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002236435
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400033515
  • ASIN: 1400033519
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" If "Frost" is an apprentice work, a blast of raw feeling without the formal elegance of his later novels, it already heralds Bernhard' s urge not just to look death in the face but to climb directly into its mouth and produce a fearless report of the architectural dimensions of a place that few of us care to imagine for very long. In writing that is remarkable for how close it takes us to our own ending, Bernhard is, finally, uplifting and revelatory, because he does not turn away from the most central and awful part of reality. His characters are so ruthlessly determined not to be fooled that they ruin themselves before our eyes. This is mercilessly honest work that shows the moral consequences of being highly alert to life, and it is terrifying to read. As the narrator of "Frost "says of his own report, ' I could read the whole thing back, but I would only give myself a fright.' "
- Ben Marcus, "Harper' s Magazine"
" The late, brilliant Austrian writer' s first (1963) novel, previously untranslated, is a characteristic excoriation of all things great and small and the tragicomedy of existence . . . perversely exhilarating."
- starred, "Kirkus Reviews"
" Bernhard' s glorious talent for bleak existential monologues is second only to Beckett' s, and seems to have sprung up fully mature in his mesmerizing debut."
- "Publishers Weekly"

"From the Hardcover edition."

"If "Frost" is an apprentice work, a blast of raw feeling without the formal elegance of his later novels, it already heralds Bernhard's urge not just to look death in the face but to climb directly into its mouth and produce a fearless report of the architectural dimensions of a place that few of us care to imagine for very long. In writing that is remarkable for how close it takes us to our own ending, Bernhard is, finally, uplifting and revelatory, because he does not turn away from the most central and awful part of reality. His characters are so ruthlessly determined not to be fooled that they ruin themselves before our eyes. This is mercilessly honest work that shows the moral consequences of being highly alert to life, and it is terrifying to read. As the narrator of "Frost "says of his own report, 'I could read the whole thing back, but I would only give myself a fright.'"
-Ben Marcus, "Harper's Magazine"
"The late, brilliant Austrian writer's first (1963) novel, previously untranslated, is a characteristic excoriation of all things great and small and the tragicomedy of existence . . . perversely exhilarating."
-starred, "Kirkus Reviews"
"Bernhard's glorious talent for bleak existential monologues is second only to Beckett's, and seems to have sprung up fully mature in his mesmerizing debut."
-"Publishers Weekly"

"From the Hardcover edition."

"A blast of raw feeling. . . . This is mercilessly honest work." --"Harper's Magazine""One of the century's most gifted writers." --"Philadelphia Inquirer""Bernhard is a remarkable literary performer: a man who goes to extremes in ways that vivify our sense of human possibilities." --"The Wall Street Journal"

About the Author

Thomas Bernhard was born in Holland in 1931 and grew up in Austria. His interest in music and theater led him to study at the Akademie Mozarteum in Salzburg. He published nine novels, an autobiography, one volume of poetry, four collections of short stories, and six volumes of plays. He died in Austria in 1989.


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Format: Paperback
A young intern is sent by a surgeon to spy on his brother, the painter. The Painter has chosen to live in a pestilential town, in an inn where the landlady serves food supplied by the town knacker. It's winter but rather than beautiful snowfields and mountains there's a cold that freezes animals grotesquely. Summer would have been no better because then it's a malarial swamp. The children who survive disease are backward and ugly while the child graves are neglected by their parents.

The Intern records the complaints and judgments of the Painter which reveal that everything in a dreadful place is getting worse. The exaggeration is almost comical. Even when the Painter describes another town he says: "The place was bland and claustrophobic like all mountain towns. It was near the source of a river that turns north, where it's a little less bleak". The story is written with humour, but in the end the effect of place and the characters, who are in some way archetypal -- The Surgeon, the Painter, the Engineer, the Knacker, the Landlady -- is overwhelming but quite brilliant.
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Format: Paperback
Thomas Bernhard has been a revelation ever since I read Extinction and realised halfway through I was in the company of one of Europe's finest writers. The story has been given a good airing here but let's admire the descriptions of a rough, almost lawless area in the mountains, sometimes corresponding to areas of the body - the 'mountains like serrated brain edges', the town of Weng in its deep gorge (call me an old Freudian), these features emblematic, as in Auden's poem Paysage Moralise; the intensely strong ties between people, even if they rub along with barely disguised loathing most of the time; the universal blankness of cold; and the notion that a trainee doctor can analyse more than just the medical - "My mission to observe the painter Strauch compels me to think about precisely non-flesh-related circumstances and issues." His final diagnoses, in the form of six letters to the surgeon, indeed stray from the physical, though that is there too. "He is one of those people who refuse to say anything at all, and yet who are continually driven to say everything. Who tie tourniquets round the arteries of their thought, but to no effect..." This is the real deal, genius on the loose, a superb writer who feels every word, and an adept translator, Michael Hofman.
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