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Victor Halfwit: A Winter's Tale (Seagull Books - Seagull World Literature) Hardcover – July 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The feeling grows that Thomas Bernhard is the most original, concentrated novelist writing in German. His connections... with the great constellation of Kafka, Musil, and Broch become ever clearer." - George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement "What is extraordinary about Bernhard is that his relentless pessimism never seems open to ridicule; his world is so powerfully imagined that it can seem to surround you like little else in literature." - New Yorker"

About the Author

 Thomas Bernhard (1931–89) grew up in Salzburg and Vienna, where he studied music. In 1957, he began a second career as a playwright, poet, and novelist. He went on to win many of the most prestigious literary awards of Europe.Martin Chalmers is a translator and editor whose translations include works by Hubert Fichte, Ernst Weiss, Herta Mueller, Alexander Kluge, Emine Sevgi Oezdamar, and Erich Hackl.
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Product Details

  • Series: Seagull Books - Seagull World Literature
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Seagull Books (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906497648
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906497644
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,729,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Society Nineteen on September 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If printed books survive, extraordinary ones like this will be among the reasons.

Satisfyingly substantial, gorgeously printed, vividly colorful, and visually stunning, it's just astonishing. The brief written text, though quirkily interesting, is mostly an occasion for the amazing images created by Sunandini Banerjee. Juxtaposing elements from antique engravings to modern photography, her collages--different on every spread--are colorful in every way. If you love elegant graphic design, dreamlike imagery, digital collage, or just beautiful books, this one's a must.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roxane D. Stoner on October 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading the reviews about this book more than the actual book. I was ready for something grand. Well it is pretty big... But a let down with the content. I really need to give it another try and will give it revise review then to be fair.
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Format: Hardcover
*****
"What is extraordinary about Bernhard is that his relentless pessimism never seems open to ridicule; his world is so powerfully imagined that it can seem to surround you like little else in literature." -- New Yorker

The story is strikingly simple, a doctor has to visit his patient in a neighboring city. He has to walk through a dense forest at night, in the middle of winter, with deep snow covering the mountains and forests the doctor is crossing the ridge from Traich to Föding to see him. He stumbles over a body in the darkness. He discovers it is not a corpse, it's Victor Halfwit, legless but still very much alive. This fellow's wooden legs are broken as he was trying to hurry through the forest. Thanks to the doctor Halfwit wins the bet, he will be able to buy the new boots that he longed for. But is it a happy end?

Victor Halfwit may have originally been viewed as an absurd fable for children, but Berhard's masterly embrace of the overlap of tragedy and comedy renders this a story for all ages. European literary critics keep advocating that Thomas Bernhard is certainly one of the most influential writers of any era, any country! "Enormously influential, unremittingly bleak and pessimistic but never without a sense of humor, his style evolved into single-paragraphed philosophical rants extending hundreds of pages,..." His books have been translated and published for decades, by a variety of Publishers from the major Knopf to the tiny ones allover Europe, with many of them out of print for long stretches.

First published in German in 1967, written at the same time as Bernhard's early novels, they display the same obsessions, restlessness, and overwhelming mastery.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. Dawson on July 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Victor Halfwit is a (very) short story by Thomas Bernhard. Seagull Books, with the help of translator Martin Chalmers and the invaluable contribution of illustrator Sunandini Banerjee, has elevated this story to a work of art with this lavishly illustrated edition. What would easily fit on two pages has been spread over more than two hundred pages, many of which contain just a couple words or even no words at all. Without a doubt, Banerjee's illustrations take center stage in this production. Composed of intricately layered collages in lush colors, these illustrations are gorgeous and eye-catching. Their surrealistic elements and juxtapositions of images from different time periods complement Bernhard's prose, and the book's high production value, including thick creamy paper and flawless color printing, show off Banerjee's art to great effect. Bernhard's simple fable, however, cannot support the weight of its powerful artistic accompaniment and ultimately reveals itself to be nothing more than flimsy scaffolding. Read this book for the art or give it as a gift but don't expect much from the story.
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Victor Halfwit: A Winter's Tale (Seagull Books - Seagull World Literature)
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