Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “L'Imitateur” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  731 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
The work of late Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard was no one's idea of an uplifting read. Given to writing mostly dense, bleak, darkly comic, one-paragraph novels such as The Loser, Bernhard has rarely received the audience he deserves. The Voice Imitator, while unlikely to change this basic fact, does give us Bernhard's singularly pessimistic worldview in perhaps more dige ...more
Paperback, 172 pages
Published 1982 by Gallimard (first published 1978)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about L'Imitateur, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about L'Imitateur

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 05, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thomas-bernhard
Bernhard's adventures in flash fiction are a tad disappointing because most tend to rely on the same gimmick; he often begins them by mimicking the neutral, banal language of newspaper reports—identifying protagonists by profession, locality, and incident in a labyrinthine network of clauses and phrases—and then finishes with a wowie-zowie karate chop of the morbid, sensational, or absurd. Or all three at once. In some cases, this works well, but in others, you feel as though you've wandered int ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

If Edward Gorey had been a Central European, he might have written these stories, all less than one page, filled with a spry, dark lunacy. In "Speleologists," a team of them enters an Austrian cave. When the speleologists fail to emerge on the expected date, a second team of speleologists is sent in to find them. This team also fails to emerge, and a third team is sent in. This team also fails to emerge, whereupon the authorities wall up the cave.

In "Pisa and Venice," the mayors of the two citie
Dec 04, 2015 Sanja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Neki čovek je u Acbahu ubio svoju ženu, jer je ova, po njegovom mišljenju, iz zapaljene kuće spasla pogrešno dete. Nije spasila osmogodišnjeg sina, od kojeg je njen muž želeo da stvori nešto posebno, već ćerku, koju on nije mnogo voleo. Kada su ga pred okružnim sudom u Velzeru pitali šta je nameravao sa svojim sinom, koji je potpuno izgoreo u požaru, čovek je odgovarao da je od njega želeo da napravi anarhistu, masovnog ubicu i rušioca diktature države."

Ako ikada dođete negde 30-40 minuta ranij
Oct 17, 2015 Ellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Σ'ένα νοσοκομείο της Ρώμης πέθανε η ευφυέστερη και σημαντικότερη ποιήτρια που γέννησε η χωρα μας αυτό τον αιώνα, από εγκαύματα που έπαθε μέσα στην μπανιέρα της, όπως πιστοποίησαν οι αρχές. Είχα κάνει μαζί της πολλά ταξίδια, όπου μοιράστηκα πολλές από τις φιλοσοφικές της θεωρίες, όπως επίσης τις απόψεις της για την πορεία του κόσμου και της Ιστορίας, από τη οποία ήταν τρομαγμένη ολόκληρη η ζω'η της. Πολλές προσπάθειές της να επιστρέψει στην πατρίδα της την Αυστρία κατέληγαν σε αποτυχόα εξ
Jun 11, 2007 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bathroom reading, Bernhard style
Abimelech Abimelech
If this book replaced The Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, Shakespeare, or whatever the hell else they teach and will continue to teach in order to indoctrinate growing minds with adolescent fantasy about the looming world of shit which is adulthood, at least the public school children could be prepared to turn on the news, or read a newspaper, or understand what is actually going to happen, and what does happen, around the world. Then, and only then, could a young person embrace Shakespea ...more
Dec 01, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short narratives written out as newspaper items. Very original and super cynical with a certain amount of ice attached to it. Bernhard is the ultimate writer's writer. I never met a writer who was not either crazy about his writing or at least admire his work. This is my favorite of his for some reason. I think because of the style of writing and the humor that comes through it. And again it's very harsh but done in such a beautiful way.
a  Lena
Aug 26, 2015 a Lena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stotinjak pričica čija dužina varira od jedne rečenice do jedne stranice. Priče podsjećaju na novinske članke, na mješavinu rubrika "crna hronika" i "zanimljivosti", sa samoubistvima, izdajama, nasiljem... Na momente apsurdno, na momente mračno i duhovito - tipično bernhardovska suptilna satira.
Πρόκειται για ένα βιβλίο 38 ετών αλλά επίκαιρο και διαχρονικό στο σύνολο του.
Οι 104 μικρές ιστορίες είναι στην πλειοψηφία τους ενδιαφέρουσες και μόνο κάποιες από αυτές αφήνουν απορημένο τον αναγνώστη σχετικά με το κρυμένο νόημα τους. Το ύφος είναι ιδιαίτερο, με μεγάλες προτάσεις και συνεχή ροή μιας ανάσας.
Αρκετές είναι αστείες, άλλες διδακτικές αλλά όλες αληθινές και με μια επικάλυψη ειρωνίας που παρουσιάζεται ως αθωότητα ή αφέλεια.
Φαντάζομαι τον συγγραφέα να κρατάει σημειώσεις στο τετραδιάκι
Bernhard is a master of tone and his books are studies in quiet devastation. He presents here 104 stories, each less than one page, and while I usually do not like such short pieces (they are often gimmicky or shallow) this collection is brilliant. Many of the stories are taken from newspaper accounts of strange or disturbing events: suicides, murders, disappearances; and they work on each other cumulatively, creating a strange and fluid snapshot of a sick society. Bernhard highlights the ironic ...more
‘El imitador de voces’ es un compendio de microrrelatos publicado por Thomas Bernhard en 1978. Se trata de ciento cuatro historias breves, que van desde apenas unas líneas hasta una longitud de una página. Son textos que abarcan desde lo periodístico a lo meramente anecdótico, con notas de humor negro y mucho cinismo, pese a hablar muchas veces de verdaderas tragedias. En otras ocasiones habla desde lo absurdo o lo tierno. Pero lo que siempre hace Bernhard, es movernos a la reflexión, incluso en ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of one-page or less irony-drenched narratives that read like existential parables. Austria, Bernhard's native country, is given an extremely harsh critique, particularly vis a vis artists, thinkers, scientists.

The general theme seems to be something along the lines of: "If you are talented and do good works not only will you not be recognized but your life will be made so miserable that you will not wish to leave any of your art behind for posterity."

Oh, and it's funny as hell.
Sep 11, 2016 Diletta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Di suicidi, omicidi e devastazioni orribili. Ma in piccole cronache narraea con terribile neutralità e capaci quindi di stordire e di far perder la testa in labirintici logorii.
Marija Benić
Jul 17, 2016 Marija Benić rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apsolutno Bernhard za pocetnike.
Ko se nije sreo sa njim do sada, a hoce da mu da sansu, treba da pocne od ove knjige. Cisto da i sebi da prostora da se privikne na nadasve specifican stil pisanja.
Splet neobicnih prica i veoma upecatljivih likova.
Jun 08, 2011 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: microfiction
I read one of these during a class -- maybe my microfiction class -- and thought I'd seek out the rest. Bernhard has a very clear, precise, hard-hitting style, for the most part. There are some verbal ticks, and some labyrinthine sentences, which may be due to his style or to the translator. They got in the way for me, particularly as the commas were not in natural places all the time.

The stories are very simple, little anecdotes, snippets from news stories real or imagined, a moment's thought c
Aug 29, 2015 NobilisGughy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sterminio sistematico alla Bernhard.
Non sono cronache, queste, ma occhiali per l’imbecillità. Poggiati sul naso, per esempio al mattino, aprendo il quotidiano, o alla sera, poco prima del telegiornale, facilitano, per così dire, la messa a fuoco.

All’usuale ferocia martellante, Bernhard contrappone un linguaggio sobrio e puntuale, ambasciatore di atroci abissi. Brevi accenni a grotteschi destini, tracciati con la studiata superficialità rivelatrice di chi ha prima scavato con furore all’essenza d
Mar 03, 2014 Aya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
104 one paragraph stories, not longer than a page, almost entirely unconnected. Stories seem to be drawn from newspaper accounts, hearsay and conversation (gossip). Often told in the 1st person plural, in an unsentimental and bleak way.

Bitter, black, scornful, absurd, cynical and mad. Many times about murder, suicide, corruption (politics) and character assassination (or unappreciated 'genius' artists).

Two of the shorter stories to give you an impression:

"Hotel Waldhaus"
We had no luck with the
Alberto Bellini
Si tratta del mio primo contatto con questo autore, assai prolifico e discusso. sicuramente l'opera in questione è minore, ma significativa. sono una serie di brevissimi fatti, abbozzi di trame. assolutamente scorrevoli e che danno l'impressione di una sostanziale superficialità perlomeno all'inizio, quasi di un divertimento. lentamente però il tono cambia, la presenza della morte, del suicidio, della pazzia, della stupidità imperante che porta ciascuno dei protagonisti al suicidio o alla fuga, ...more
Oziel Bispo
Nunca tinha lido Thomas Bernhard por isso não estou acostumado com seu estilo literário. Mas as pequenas histórias,reais ou imaginárias, 104 no total , só falam, a maioria, de mortes ,suicídios nas mais diversas situações .Lógico que há ironias, cinismos, sátiras , duplos sentidos mas realmente não gostei muito, vou ler mais livros dele para me familiarizar com seu estilo.
Eddie Watkins
When I read some of Bernhard's books quite a few years ago I wasn't even aware that he had written anything like this - very short "stories", some almost like newspaper squibs (like Tosh mentions), but also like mysterious dark parables. In reading his novels you could get the impression that Bernhard's strength lies in his almost primal incantantory rhythms and repetitions and headlong powerful rush of words, but this book, by being almost like strobe-lit moments or still snapshots of his prose ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Jasminka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
„Mrzim ljude, ali oni su istovremeno i razlog što živim“ - moto austrijskog pisca - mizantropa Tomasa Bernharda potvrđuje se u svakoj maloj pričici u ovoj zbirci. Ali, ta mržnja nije usmjerena samo ka ljudima, već i prema svakoj ljudskoj tvorevini, pre svega državi. Te male priče, minijaturne ponekad, više liče na kratke, novinske vesti istrgnute iz crne hronike, bizarne, banalne, morbidno duhovite a sve njih povezuje neka vrsta ludila. Interesantna knjiga koja se brzo čita i otvara nova pitanja ...more
Paul Fulcher
Jul 07, 2014 Paul Fulcher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A relatively easy introduction to Thomas Bernhard but one that doesn't capture the full power of his work.

This is almost micro-fiction, 100 stories each told on at most one page, often significantly shorter.

The black humour of Thomas Bernhard's work is very much present - indeed some were laugh-out-loud funny - but it doesn't really capture the full force of his novels with the repetitive hammer blows of their convuluted sentences and unremittingly black, but still darkly humorous, prose, usual
Jun 26, 2014 M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okuduğum ilk Thomas Bernhard kitabı ve bu sayede bütün kitaplarını okuma listeme aldım. Öykü meraklıları için birebir.
Bu kitabın temasını, ölüm, akıl hastalığı, intihar ve yolculuk oluşturuyor.
JM Schreiber
Nov 04, 2015 JM Schreiber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some might see this as an introduction to Bernhard for those uncomfortable diving into, say, a single-paragraph 200 page novel. But it works even better, one might argue, as a treat for those who are already acquainted with some of Bernhard’s classic works. Each little anecdotal story stands like a glimpse into the windows of Bernhard’s world… the themes, characters, and images that feature in his longer works shine, isolated for a moment, in the space of a single page or less. Contained in this ...more
Dec 22, 2013 Indi_book rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernhard en distancias cortas. Sucesión de relatos breves, a lo sumo una carilla. Algunos de una genialidad comparable a los cuentos cortos de Cortázar.
Jan 10, 2013 Knar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these were more striking than others. But, a handful of bits & ends of interest:

PHOTO-STYLE FRAMING: Each story is contained within a single page. One cannot help but think that there is a request being made: Read as you would see or look at an image or photo. Survey the (document/)content(/"evidence"); supply any necessary extrapolation.

OPACITY: The Voice Imitator establishes an interesting relationship between looking and "character". While it's often the case that a given char
Jared Della Rocca
The worst of the stories are "Meh" the best are phenomenal. I'd hesitate to say the stories are "morbid" although they all deal with death, lunacy, or their ilk in some way. But it's the prosaic way Bernhard writes the stories as if the extreme events are ho-hum mundane that make the stories so good. It's as if they came out of your local newspaper, page B4. Highly recommend checking it out.
Sabiha  Türkseven
Öncelikle şunu belirteyim bu roman değil öykü kitabı. Zaten 118 sayfa olan kitabın neredeyse her sayfasında farklı bir öykü var. Öyküler o kadar kısa ki ben Bernhard'ın Berkeley'de arkadaşları ile viski içerken anlatılanları gece yatmadan evvel çalakalem yazdığını düşündüm. Buhran meraklısı arkadaşlar okuyabilir.
Jan 24, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Thomas Bernhard's most capable hands, the 104 stories that comprise "The Voice Imitator" are succinct, often mesmerizing, tales recounted from genuine newspaper headlines and articles. These tales are quite literally, prose haiku, miniature essays recounting foibles of artists, politicians, scientists, and others from all walks of life. They may also seem like brief outlines for some as yet unpublished great novel, but Bernhard has packed so much detail that readers will recognize these as st ...more
Dec 07, 2014 k rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The more impersonal narration of these vignettes makes them funnier than his novels, and there are some interesting ideas to draw out of what becomes to seem like repetitive style, like about how what we deem insane those things that make us feel insane. This book makes me feel insane, but that doesn't make it insane.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
A Book Made for Allusion 1 10 Jan 03, 2009 03:07PM  
  • A Child Again
  • The Deep Zoo
  • The Collected Writings Of Ambrose Bierce
  • Imaginary Lives
  • The Devil's Dictionary and Other Works
  • The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman: Including The Brother
  • Bats Out of Hell
  • Flying to America: 45 More Stories
  • Who Killed John F. Kennedy? (Lose Your Own Adventure #1)
  • The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-six
  • Sex, Drugs & Magick
  • A Smuggler's Bible
  • Dolly City
  • I Burn Paris
  • The Secret of Evil
  • The Beetle Leg
  • A Collapse of Horses
Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian author, who ranges among the most distinguished German speaking writers of the second half of the 20th century.

Although internationally he's most acclaimed because of his novels, he was also a prolific playwright. His characters were oftenly working in a lifetime and never-ending major work while they deal with themes such as suicide, madness and obsession and, as B
More about Thomas Bernhard...

Share This Book

“Unfulfilled Wish

A woman in Atzbach was murdered by her husband because, in his opinion, she had carried the wrong child with her to safety from their burning house. She had not saved their eight-year old son, for whom the man had special plans, but had saved their daughter, who was not loved by the husband. When the husband was asked, in the District Court in Wels, what plans he had had for his son, who had been completely consumed by the fire, the husband replied that he had intended him to be an anarchist and a mass murderer of dictatorships and thus a destroyer of the state.”
“Hotel Waldhaus

We had no luck with the weather and the guests at our table were repellent in every respect. They even ruined Nietzsche for us. Even after they had had a fatal car accident and had been laid out in the church in Sils, we still hated them.”
More quotes…