19 September, 2013

Concrete by Thomas Bernhard (1982)

Bernhard has a bit of a following but what a morose bunch they must be. Concrete is a novel in one unbroken paragraph - the anguished internal monologue of a miserable, petty man who wastes years of his life unable to start his great work. It's set in the 1980s but the sour narrator living off old money makes it seem 50 or so years earlier. Amongst the repetitive rambling is much truth, but it's comprehensively subsumed by many a vehement diatribe. Those directed at Bernhard's native Austria are at times breathtaking. He finishes off the novel very neatly but I think, ultimately, it's the relentless hate I can't bear.