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Gargoyles (1967)

av Thomas Bernhard

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4851137,302 (3.98)8
Early one morning a doctor sets out with his son on his daily rounds through the forbidding mountainous countryside. Their visits, a succession of grotesque portraits—a diabetic industrialist living in incestuous isolation with his half-sister; three brothers, occupying a mill set in a deep gorge, who have just strangled a bevy of exotic birds; a crippled musical prodigy whose sister locks him in a cage—lead them to a castle and a paranoid prince, whose "almost uninterrupted monologue for a hundred pages is a virtuoso verbal performance . . . [in] an extraordinary, somber first novel."—A.C. Foote, Book World "What he shares with the best of [writers such as Sartre, Camus, Mann, and Kafka] is the ability to extract more than utter gloom from his landscape of inconceivable devastation. While the external surface of life is unquestionably grim, he somehow suggests more—the mystic element in experience that calls for symbolic interpretation; the inner significance of states that are akin to surrealistic dream-worlds; man's yearning for health, compassion, sanity."—Robert Maurer, The Saturday Review "The feeling grows that Thomas Bernhard is now 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… (mer)
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» Se även 8 omnämnanden

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Not a Bernhard I can imagine going back to read in its entirety. This is most interesting in a literary history kind of way: it lets us watch Bernhard slowly become BERNHARD, as other reviewers have pointed out. The book falls in half, starting off as a Celinean medical picaresque, and closing with Bernhard rant delivered, oddly in hindsight, in the third person. The picaresque reminded me of the wonderful Joseph Winkler, only Winkler does it better. The rant reminds me of later Bernhard, which is, again, better than this version.

But there are a few nice moments here, most importantly what I take to be Bernhard naming his own literary form, to wit, "the onanism of despair." When the prince says this, he's criticizing the lumpen masses around him, but it's fairly clear that his own 100 page rant is the real onanism, his despair the real despair (140-141).

And also the twist on the "life is but a stage" trope--sure, it's a stage, we fret and then die. But the show, the prince suggests, is a comedy--again, something that could be a manifesto for later Bernhard. "All the billions of the human race spread over the five continents are nothing but one vast community of the dying. Comedy!" (145).

Comedy! ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
"And there is something else that is unbearable," he said. "The composers of symphonies always have symphonies on their minds, writers always have writing, builders always building, circus dancers always circus dancing - it's unendurable." (pg. 145)

My first Bernhard. I don't know why I enjoyed this novel as much as I did. I really shouldn't have. On the surface it is boring and exhausting, and yet, I haven't been this inspired by a novel in a long while.

At it's heart this is a novel about ideas trapped within various bodies and the ensuing perversion this causes. The first half of the novel follows a doctor and his son as he makes his rounds in a small Austrian village. Along the way they encounter people who are trapped within class distinctions, trapped within societal laws, trapped within physical bodies, and within power dynamics even as this doctor and his son are also trapped within their own relationship, though they struggle to gain purchase on it.

In the second half of the novel, Bernhard really goes for it with an artistic risk. It consists entirely of one man's monologue and the impression it makes on the doctor's son. There is a lot going on here, too much for a few pithy remarks in a Goodreads review, just know this is rich soil and Bernhard more or less pulls off his daring.

The starting point for this insanely rambling monologue is a demonstration of a man trapped within his own language and sense of identity. One reading of this half of the novel could be that this man desperately attempts to use language as a means to get himself out of himself which, of course, doesn't logically follow and therefore leads him to a kind of internal loop of madness. You know, like Comcast technical support only with yourself.

What makes this rather rigorous artistic project palatable are its generous variety of entry points and the fact that Bernhard is an excellent writer. As a result, this long nearly continuous 100 page monologue isn't a slog but at times hypnotically fascinating.

This is Bernhard's second novel and I understand he refines and matures his style in later works. I will certainly be reading them.

I recommend this novel to the adventurous. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
"And there is something else that is unbearable," he said. "The composers of symphonies always have symphonies on their minds, writers always have writing, builders always building, circus dancers always circus dancing - it's unendurable." (pg. 145)

My first Bernhard. I don't know why I enjoyed this novel as much as I did. I really shouldn't have. On the surface it is boring and exhausting, and yet, I haven't been this inspired by a novel in a long while.

At it's heart this is a novel about ideas trapped within various bodies and the ensuing perversion this causes. The first half of the novel follows a doctor and his son as he makes his rounds in a small Austrian village. Along the way they encounter people who are trapped within class distinctions, trapped within societal laws, trapped within physical bodies, and within power dynamics even as this doctor and his son are also trapped within their own relationship, though they struggle to gain purchase on it.

In the second half of the novel, Bernhard really goes for it with an artistic risk. It consists entirely of one man's monologue and the impression it makes on the doctor's son. There is a lot going on here, too much for a few pithy remarks in a Goodreads review, just know this is rich soil and Bernhard more or less pulls off his daring.

The starting point for this insanely rambling monologue is a demonstration of a man trapped within his own language and sense of identity. One reading of this half of the novel could be that this man desperately attempts to use language as a means to get himself out of himself which, of course, doesn't logically follow and therefore leads him to a kind of internal loop of madness. You know, like Comcast technical support only with yourself.

What makes this rather rigorous artistic project palatable are its generous variety of entry points and the fact that Bernhard is an excellent writer. As a result, this long nearly continuous 100 page monologue isn't a slog but at times hypnotically fascinating.

This is Bernhard's second novel and I understand he refines and matures his style in later works. I will certainly be reading them.

I recommend this novel to the adventurous. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
The part I thought best, and most in keeping with Bernhard's other novels, is the concluding, long, rambling monologue by the mad aristocrat, particularly the recursive part where he imagines his son writing to him, and his responses to his son's writing. It was rather like the different layers of the Christopher Nolan movie, Inception. There's a similarly good effect employed in his novel, Concrete, where the narrator imagines himself looking at his own back, sat at his writing desk. ( )
  pinhut | Jun 12, 2018 |
Il discorso si potrebbe fare lungo: nel 1996 il testo mi folgoro'. Fu successivo alla lettura de 'Il soccombente' e di li' ne lessi parecchi dello stesso autore. Questo libro in particolare mi ha lasciato per anni un ricordo di paesaggi inesistenti: una gola, rumorosa e buia, nella quale si svolgeva la scena.
In realtà (2011) la gola è sottostante al castello e noi camminiamo accompagnando il Principe in un soliloquio folle e inconcludente, filosofico e tremendamente inutile. Mentre la prima parte ci presenta, come suggerisce Bernardi nella postfazione, personaggi memorabili – ed è bellissimo figurarsi tutto questo in una Stiria verde, desolata, piena della follia dei consanguinei e degli ignoranti, in case sparse lontane dalla civiltà e dal passaggio del tempo - la seconda rappresenta un lungo monologo, con scrittura ad aforismi, che andrebbe a capo dopo ogni punto – perchè dopo ogni punto spesso il discorso è differente. Ma Bernhard non va a capo.
Un senso di fastidio, questo narrare senza logica, con frasi e pensieri che non ammettono repliche. Un senso di malessere, l’incastro di queste vite miserrime e solitarie in villaggi pittoreschi e panorami naturalistici.
L’ambiente da cartolina abitato da personaggi così romanticamente desolati ha lo stesso effetto delle riprese alla luce del sole della ‘Notte dei morti viventi’: sgradevoli e disorientanti.
Non trovo, non riesco a trovare invece l’umorismo spesso citato da saggi commentatori, che forse scavano zone che non leggo e non sento. Un libro di misoginia, misantropia, malattia: tutte le peculiarità del carattere dello scrittore che realizza, come seconda prova, un opera davvero disturbante.

Prima lettura: 5/5
Seconda lettura: 4/5

Non ho capito come settare le stelline nelle riletture. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
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Early one morning a doctor sets out with his son on his daily rounds through the forbidding mountainous countryside. Their visits, a succession of grotesque portraits—a diabetic industrialist living in incestuous isolation with his half-sister; three brothers, occupying a mill set in a deep gorge, who have just strangled a bevy of exotic birds; a crippled musical prodigy whose sister locks him in a cage—lead them to a castle and a paranoid prince, whose "almost uninterrupted monologue for a hundred pages is a virtuoso verbal performance . . . [in] an extraordinary, somber first novel."—A.C. Foote, Book World "What he shares with the best of [writers such as Sartre, Camus, Mann, and Kafka] is the ability to extract more than utter gloom from his landscape of inconceivable devastation. While the external surface of life is unquestionably grim, he somehow suggests more—the mystic element in experience that calls for symbolic interpretation; the inner significance of states that are akin to surrealistic dream-worlds; man's yearning for health, compassion, sanity."—Robert Maurer, The Saturday Review "The feeling grows that Thomas Bernhard is now 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

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