Bernhard fans will recognize the restrained rant, the execution of an idea carried to a logical, caustic extreme. The rant creates, of the novel, a grand philosophical speculation: What is devotion to one's art? What is it to truly understand one's art and to not misuse one's gift? And, alas, The Loser can also be read as the profound consequence of perfectionism, whereby all efforts to create or execute anything of note are squashed in the critical mind's ruthless self-scrutiny. The narrator works, for example, on his Glenn Gould essay for nine years, grateful, in the end, that he has published nothing. "How good it is that none of these imperfect, incomplete works has ever appeared, I thought, had I published them.... [T]oday I would be the unhappiest person imaginable, confronted daily with disastrous works crying out with errors, imprecision, carelessness, amateurishness." The one regenerative act seems to be that of self-destruction. Destruction, indeed, becomes the flip side of perfectionist rigor. Thomas Bernhard (1931-89) was his own unique genius and in The Loser, one of his most acclaimed novels, he creates a chilling portrait of tragic compulsion, teasing and testing our assumptions human behavior. --Hollis Giamatteo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
first up in John Murry's ( the graceless age )summer bookclub . Its beautiful , I especially loved the bit where he describes the Artist as a cripple and beautiful both at the same... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Trey Blake
Never has misanthropic bile been as entertaining. Brilliant insight into the artist's mind. Envy and obsession and the Goldberg Variations.Published 9 months ago by Hurt
I think of "The Loser" as a failed experimental work that went on far, far too long. If the only merits of its prose are repetition, unreliable narration, postmodern loop-de-loops... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Hermes Trismestigus
The novel is an obsessive (I think), or at least an autistic droning of repetitions and paranoid preoccupations with a tight set of recurring themes, most of them apparently... Read morePublished on December 12, 2011 by ivona poyntz
This book was scheduled to be discussed at a Harvard Master Class, so I was looking forward to reading it before attending. Read morePublished on March 5, 2009 by Marian K. Shapiro
This was the first book I read by Bernhard. I'm having trouble rating it, since it's not his best work but still worth 5 stars. Read morePublished on October 30, 2008 by J. Lindberg
Read about Thomas Bernhard from an article on Susan Sontag. She was effusive about his work.
The Loser is a meditation on the plight of the genius and his pursuit of... Read more
apparently other people think like me! this novel is a witty stream of counciousness writing that happily mimicks the things that run through my head, only in someone else's life. Read morePublished on November 14, 2007 by Mariah Jo