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The Lime Works: A Novel (Vintage International) [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Bernhard
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.01 (38%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

For five years, Konrad has imprisoned himself and his crippled wife in an abandoned lime works where he’s conducted odd auditory experiments and prepared to write his masterwork, The Sense of Hearing. As the story begins, he’s just blown the head off his wife with the Mannlicher carbine she kept strapped to her wheelchair. The murder and the bizarre life that led to it are the subject of a mass of hearsay related by an unnamed life-insurance salesman in a narrative as mazy, byzantine, and mysterious as the lime works—Konrad’s sanctuary and tomb.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“A superior book . . . deeply thought and felt. . . . Bernhard is a writer of great originality and fascination.”
The New York Review of Books
 
“Bernhard’s prose is hypnotic, unstoppable, as rapid as thought itself. He makes you think, as all great writers do, that at any moment he can say anything.”
The Washington Post Book World
 
“A masterfully dense set of esthetic, social and political metaphors about contemporary life, about art, about obsessive commitment to anything. . . . The book is a jungle of meaning, the opposite of simplistic allegory, and a major achievement.”
The New Republic
 
“A novel that forces you to think, that compels you to measure your life and rituals against those of its strange, though frequently all-too-human, protagonist.”
National Review

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1816 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400077583
  • Publisher: Vintage (January 2, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ALBR77M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #875,596 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(8)
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A writer writing on writing August 27, 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The book itself is like the lime works in which the reader finds him/herself lost, the walls constructed of bits of hearsay and rumor collected and disseminated by various neighbors and acquaintances of the strange old man currently living in the lime works with his invalid wife of whom he takes cursory care and on whom he conducts strange experiments (of the auditory type) because he is gathering information for the book he is writing, the book he has been writing for quite some time, well, actually the book that he has been preparing to write for years but which he has not actually started because he is afraid that he might get it wrong and he knows that it must be a brilliant work -- for his research is of the most brilliant nature -- and he is simply driving himself mad with it, though he seems not to notice anything unusual except for his exceptionally keen sense of hearing and the most amazing thing about the book, not the book in the book, but the actual book by Thomas Bernhard, is that it is about writing the book that the reader is reading and it is difficult to put the book down even for a moment, not just because the book is intriguing and complex and disturbing, but also because the book is composed (to resemble the workings of a madman's mind) of several hundred pages of run-on sentences
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The most lamentable, ridiculous, pitiful stuff..." August 21, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Or so Konrad, the focus of 'The Lime Works', is supposed to have said, in reference to the results one gets at the moment anyone attempts to place on paper any thought, no matter how portentous (or monstrous, according to Konrad, supposedly). This is as good an example as any of Konrad's worldview, at least as it is reported to the reader by the faceless narrator as he transcribes the gossip and rumor flying around the small town of Sinking after Konrad has murdered his crippled, wheelchair-bound wife. (No spoilers here - the murder is reported on the second page). Slowly, bit by bit, from second, third, and even fourth-hand sources, a picture of the murderer emerges - of his frustrated attempts at writing the definitive textbook on hearing, of his "marital hell", to his bizarre life inside the defunct lime works, all described by what Konrad supposedly said to one or the other of several different townspeople.

Surprisingly, the novelty of Bernhard's style doesn't wear thin, despite the fact that he uses the words "Konrad is supposed to have said" or some variation over and over - presumable to reinforce the underlying ambiguity of not only Konrad's assertions, but also of the actual conditions of his and his wife's existence in the lime works itself. In the end, nothing but the murder is for certain, not Konrad's ruthlessness, as some would have it, or his doting attention to his crippled wife's needs, as other might say. But Bernhard's massive prose assault, consisting mainly of one paragraph that lasts over two hundred pages, approaches the only sort of deconstruction a society can realistically perform on one of its members - which it often does, whether it has any business doing so or not.

Ha! and what a character Konrad is supposed to be!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Could Have Fun ... June 8, 2010
Format:Paperback
... of a perverse sort, by recommending The Lime Works as a suspenseful murder mystery. Hey, of all the novels of Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, it comes closest to having a "plot"! Herr Konrad, a once wealthy but now impecunious eccentric who lives in a mysterious former lime factory in a dark forest in the most remote and hag-ridden corner of his country, murders his wheelchair-bound wife in the first pages of the novel. Everyone in the region is flabbergasted, titillated, consumed with curiosity about Konrad's motives and intentions; the murder is the sole subject of conversation in every tavern, and Konrad's 'friends' can talk of nothing else. The nameless narrator, apparently a traveling insurance salesman, gathers their reminiscences of Konrad's odd behavior, along with contrary and contradictory bits of gossip, into a seamless narrative of psychological torment ....

... but that would be utmost cruelty to readers who might expect to enjoy Bernhard on the same terms as Raymond Chandler or Frank Tallis. Thomas Bernhard is NOT about "fun". There is never a hint of suspense in The Lime Works, and its "seamless narrative" is a meandering run-on monologue -- almost a single sentence sprawling page after page -- by the insurance agent, whose interest in Konrad is unexplained and perhaps inexplicable. In fact, the narrator is a 'man without qualities', a faceless cypher who reports verbatim but in random order all the hearsay and speculations he's gleaned from those who knew Konrad, often detailing words that Konrad 'was supposed to have said' to an equally faceless cypher named Wieser. In fact, the only 'voice' in The Lime Works is the voice of Konrad, overheard third- or even fourth-hand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. December 3, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Do yourself a favor and read a little Bernhard if you haven't already. It's really, really great stuff, and this one is one of my favorites.
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