"This newly translated collection of Thomas Bernhard’s prose, Prose,
should be welcomed as a major event in contemporary letters. Most of these stories, in classic Bernhard fashion, take as their subject a failure who will not fail, a madman who will not go mad, an impossible suicide—a suicide always reverting back to what the 'I,' the voice which insists itself, can or would do—has, would have, or will have done. Translator Martin Chalmers renders Bernhard’s German with poetic precision, and without missing any earmarks of the latter’s dense and rich writing style: sentences which wind around themselves, and which constantly, in multiform ways, miss and re-encounter their subjects—which are always ending and beginning again, repeating or forgetting themselves. Each one of the seven stories in Prose
shimmers with the shadow contained in—and containing—any one of Bernhard’s novels."—Faster Times
(Alec Niedenthal Faster Times
"Fortunately, for all of its easily identifiable Bernhardian preoccupations—its suicides and murderers, its haunted characters—the previously untranslated story collection Prose provides, in miniature, both an ideal introduction and a refresher to the work of one of the singular European writers of the twentieth century."
(Stephen Sparks Three Percent
“Thomas Bernhard is a god. . . . Prose
is his first story collection, originally published in 1967 and, amazingly, not once translated into English until 2010. It was worth the wait. This is Bernhard being Bernhard (as he always was)–the endless paragraphs; the mordant, suicidal, probably insane narrators; the incredible mastery of language. . . . Certainly one of the best things I read this year.”
(Scott Esposito Conversational Reading
is most interesting . . . as a marker of the evolution of Bernhard’s style and sensibility. In ‘The Carpenter,’ we encounter the line ‘The fault lies with the state,’ which would practically become Bernhard’s mantra; in ‘The Cap,’ there is the equally familiar narrator who feels ‘always close to going completely mad, but not completely
(Dale Peck New York Times Sunday Book Review
"The neuroticism and cruelty on display in these seven newly translated short stories leave you short of breath but entirely absorbed – or, more accurately, entrapped. The theme of imprisonment runs through the collection, and Thomas Bernhard forces us to confront his characters' sense of confinement with dizzying, claustrophobic whirls of syntax. . . . In theme and style, Prose,
which was originally published in 1967, closely echoes Bernard novels such as Old Masters
. It provides an excellent introduction to his work, or a satisfying reading experience in itself for those who like angst in small doses." (Mina Holland Observer
"[The] vision of the world's absurdity, futility, and evil is a constant in Bernhard's work. What varies is the mood or spirit in which the vision is enforced."
(New York Review of Books