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Auslöschung: Ein Zerfall
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Auslöschung: Ein Zerfall

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  748 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Auslöschung ist der letzte von Thomas Bernhard publizierte Roman. Die ersten Überlegungen zu diesem von ihm selbst als »opus magnum« bezeichneten Werk reichen jedoch bis in die Mitte der siebziger Jahre zurück. Niedergeschrieben wird der Bericht des Franz-Josef Murau über die Auslöschung seiner Eltern und seines Bruders zu Beginn der achtziger Jahre.

Zwanzig Jahre später gi
Paperback, 572 pages
Published December 31st 2008 by Suhrkamp (first published 1986)
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Paul Bryant
Thomas Bernhard : the dentist’s drill of modern literature. When you are having such an entirely miserable, entirely lonely, entirely teeth-grinding time reading a novel, when groans and hisses and yelps issue involuntarily from you as you turn the page, you know you are in the presence of a master and that this is great literature. It was just the same with Beckett (Molloy), and yes, pretty much the same with Hubert Selby (The Room) and Saramago (Blindness). In all of these great works what we ...more
M. Sarki

There is nobody I have ever read who speaks to me more clearly and like-minded than Thomas Bernhard does. From the very first sentence Bernhard had me hooked on the book. I could have just said the first paragraph but there is only one in the entire book so that would have been a little bit too much tongue-in-cheek. But don’t let that stop you from reading this Extinction. A flowing single paragraph is a Bernhard trademark. At least he has proper sentences
His final novel, Extinction, is, put simply, Bernhard's masterpiece..., a masterpiece among any number of masterpieces. An astonishing output.

(After starting with Concrete - which astonished me) I read Bernhard's novels chronologically, and would recommend anyone who wants to delve into his works, to read, in the following order:

The Lime Works
The Loser -- about Glenn Gould -- and

I found Woodcutters, Old Masters, and even Wittgenstein's Nephew to be somewhat inferior.

Like Correction, this one is twice as long as the average Bernhard book and therefore it does twice the damage as the average 150-page Bernhard book, damage mitigated by the introduction of self-conscious acknowledgment about the narrator's abominable pronouncements, also direct attack on Austria's Nazi past, also two sympathetic idealized characters to counterbalance all the imbeciles and insincere simulators. As always, there's nothing as good, no approach as viral, nothing as unbearable to re ...more
This book is 326 pages of rabid, unrelenting misanthropy that is all ONE PARAGRAPH, from the perspective of a hateful, very rich Austrian expatriate who despises his family, Austria, and everything else.

It is totally impossible for me to explain why I loved reading this, but it had an intoxicating, addictive quality and I really could not put it down. However, I wouldn't in good conscience recommend it to my worst enemy.

Looking forward to reading something else by Bernhard (suggestions, Dieter?)
The funny thing about Bernhard's style is that because you have no stopping points, no denouements, you consequently just sort of pop in and out of Bernhard-land. And what a land it is! Hey, do you know what sucks? Everything! Do you know what sucks more? Everything IN AUSTRIA! Especially your Mom! She's a child-destroying, anti-intellectual, priest-fucking Nazi HO BAG! This kind of whinging is a more grown-up, more cultivated Holden Caulfield mentality, but fuck it, I worshipped at the altar of ...more
No one else writes quite like Thomas Bernhard, certainly one of the most distinctive stylists of the second half of the twentieth-century. His novels typically are constructed of rants addressed by a first-person narrator to a silent listener. These rants are always exaggerated, as Franz-Josef Murau, the narrator of "Extinction" realizes: "Without the art of exaggeration, I told him, we'd be condemned to an awfully tedious life, a life not worth living. And I've developed this art to an incredib ...more
After reading this, I have the sneaking suspicion that Thomas Bernhard doesn't really like Austria.
Aaron Arnold
"We all succumb to megalomania, I told Gambetti, in order to avoid having to pay the price for our constant ineffectuality."

One of the most difficult things to learn about appreciating fiction is that when an author (or director, playwright, etc.) shows you something, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're advocating or endorsing it. You would think that this would be obvious, but I catch myself all the time wanting to write something off, only to think about it for a while and deciding that s
Bernhard still at the top of his game at the end of his life. But this one went for a bit too long, I think his books should hover around the 100-page mark. The humor is a little different in this one too, and his hatred towards Austria is more pronounced here than the other 2 I read of his. When I read him, I always wonder how much his narrator's voice is an exaggeration of himself and how much is just made up.

An interesting blog post about this book:
Possibly my favourite Bernhard novel, the whole book takes place over a few days but the narrator covers a much longer expanse of time.
The narrator is the black sheep of the family, an intellectual who feels more at home in cities, likes to read philosophy and prefers the company of gardeners and lives in exile in Rome.
After the tragic deaths of his parents and brother he has to return to Wolfsegg, whilst waiting for the funeral we get an insight into the narrator's relationship with the rest
Interpretating the Bible would be easier than interpretating this book. It's hard to read. I loved words of siren's voice give up, give up, you know you want to, how good life can be when you aren’t reading Thomas Bernhard in Paul Bryant's review.
David Ramirer
"Der absatzloseste Roman seit Konzeption des Multiversums!" (Molosovsky): in zwei 300-seiten starken kapiteln rechnet der protagonist mit seiner familie ab, die bei einem autounfall ums leben gekommen ist. wenig "harte" handlung (vor allem im ersten kapitel bleibt der protagonist am schreibtisch sitzen und erinnert sich angesichts des ihn benachrichtigenden telegramms an seine familie) aber viel innere bewegung und auf die vollkommene auslöschung alles den protagonisten in die enge treibenden zu ...more
Eloy Eduardo
This, the first book I read by this Austrian author, was quite a revelation to me. The narrator (a forceful and imposing one) is quite cynical and sarcastic in his dislikes, but most of the time I thought his powerful irony and criticism (at his family mostly) were justified. I guess his wit and poetic style saves this superb story (more like an accusatory manifesto) at the end. I was sorry to find out later Bernhard had died at just 58 years of age and that this novel was his last.
Dostoyevsky + Kafka + Wittgenstein + Huysman (something camp and hysterical in the misanthropy).

Am I not supposed to find this deeply, outrageously funny? Humor of the blackest, sootiest sort.

read en route to Dublin, discussed here:
Paul Xylinides
Like a member of the Spanish Inquisition Thomas Bernhard relentlessly eviscerates his countrymen - Austrian society - page after page after page. The sustained inventiveness and obvious intelligence of his scorn keeps the reader going. One remains in doubt until the very end as to what is the author's ultimate aim and whether or not it has all been worthwhile. The conclusion removes every concern and raises the whole from a remarkable indictment to a complete and satisfying annihilation or "exti ...more
Kobe Bryant
Pretty funny when he was being super mean to his sisters and brother in law
Extincție păstrează acel parfum german care îmi amint fește de Gerhart Hauptmann și Hugo Hoffmannstahl, poate și de exotismul descrierilor lui Elias Canetti. Bernhard insistă, în general, pe analiza intelectuală aplicată drastic asupra celor care sunt de acord să își urmeze soarta fără să își pună întrebări, fără să deschidă o carte, fără să vrea să descopere lucruri despre propriile lor capacități.

de la sursă: Thomas Bernhard – Extincție – SemneBune
Kieran Healy
I had a much longer review in mind, but I'll keep it short. I apologize in advance. I know what it's like when someone trashes an author I love, and with all the love he gets... Here goes.

To me, this is the philosophy of willful misanthropy, and it is boring. I tried finding reviews and articles to explain to me why this is man important or relevant, because I feared I was missing something after so many glowing reviews. I wasn't. Most will tell you Bernhard is in the same league as (fill in the
Not in a whimper but with a bang.

Éditions Gallimard, collection L’Imaginaire… les dernières pages se décollent, je finis par les lire hors du livre, comme on lit des feuillets. Elles se sont détachées de leur corps et ça m’énerve. Non que je déteste que mes livres s’abiment, au contraire, mais je n’aime pas que les pages se détachent… Pourtant, c’était de circonstance, comme si l’objet épousait ce qu’il contenait, ce qu’il renfermait. Des feuilles mortes. Un détachement. Une extinction. Un effon
This seems to me to be Bernhard's creative apogee in what is an already relentlessly iconoclastic and unique body of work.
Although, Extinction is the most imposing novel in terms of sheer proportion in Bernhard's ouevre, a few brief sentences could easily be used to describe the physical action described in it. It is a novel describing the action, as it were, of a "living dead" people--both those complicite in and those scarred by Austria's shameful past.
Extinction brings together and seamless
It seems to me like this work is author's personal way of letting go some unresolved problems with his family. The way it is wrote, makes me think about it, as a metaphorically "washing himself from dirt". Many repetitions are for me some kind of verbal way of nervous scrubbing, to get rid of dirt. He sent his family and his country for "extinction" (cleaned himself from it) but in the end he scrubbed so hard, that he also get rid of his skin and so - himself.

It was very easy for me to identify
Thomas Bernhard's staggering magnum opus, his best work IMHO. IN lieu of my usual ironic bullshit, a quote, my favorite. (note: this was written in '86)-- "Come the millennium, human beings will no longer be capable of thinking, and the process of stultification will have reached its apogee. It will scarcely be possible to exist in a world dominated by brainlessness, and we'd do well to kill ourselves before this process of stultification has engulfed the whole world. The only advice I can offer ...more
Usually, when I read multiple books by an author, I tend to be less enchanted as I move along, but Mr Bernhard keeps growing on me. The uncompromising pessimism (in concert I think with the paragraph-less style) becomes hypnotic - I get a bit grumpy when I am interrupted.

One critic said that "to agree with Bernhard is to misunderstand him"... well, the hell with that. I agree with him.
"Once or twice a year I cheer myself up by buying one of those Roman straw hats that are sold in Trastevere for next to nothing and, being lighter than other hats, afford the best protection against the Roman heat, which is at times unbearable. I once turned up at Wolfsegg, which I still thought of as home, wearing one of these cheap straw hats and was taken to task by my mother. Did I have to buy myself such an expensive straw hat, she asked, when there was such a catastrophic economic crisis a ...more
Screaming Viking
Some day I will be able to read something that is not by Bernhard. But I can subsist for a long time on this heady stew of arrogance and recursive self-loathing, and I intend to do so until, like the narrator Franz-Josef Murau, I have extinguished what needs to be extinguished. He succeeds, so I have hope.
Definita la summa dell'opera di Bernhard, definizione azzeccata se non fosse che la mole di pagine può sfiorare l'eccessivo, trattandosi di Bernhard. Compaiono tutti i suoi temi principali: la repulsione verso l'origine, la famiglia e l'austria, e numerose digressioni filosofiche, l'osservazione dell'umanità con l'occhio più preciso possibile.
Non è un libro imperdibile, non lo consiglierei ad un amico che non conosce Bernhard; lo consiglierei a chi Bernhard già lo conosce, chi è in grado di aff
Boris Gregoric
IMO: First reading great, second time not so good.
Basically, incessant whining and kvetching on the lines of Me-Bernhard-being-great and amazing and everyone and everything else in Austria sucks.
Well, not very likely.
Technically his 'style' is heavily derived from Louis Céline and his famous three-dot 'endless' sentencing. But Louis Céline to my taste was far superior as a stylist.
My prediction is that Bernhard, already an elite and acquired taste, will not keep up to well with the passage of t
There are authors who just blow your mind. Bernhard is, according to this novel, one of them! There are sentences that are hard to digest, repetitious parts and sentences, but he is never boring and the text always makes perfectly good sense... That is a real gift - being able clearly speak one's mind, even if it is the mind of a certain literary character, and to do it in a highly artistic manner. This is a book that swallowed me completely, made me forget myself and all that was happening arou ...more
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Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian author, who ranges among the most distinguished German speaking writers of the second half of the 20th century.
More about Thomas Bernhard...
The Loser Wittgenstein's Nephew Woodcutters Correction Concrete

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“We must allow ourselves to think, we must dare to think, even though we fail. It is in the nature of things that we always fail, because we suddenly find it impossible to order our thoughts, because the process of thinking requires us to consider every thought there is, every possible thought. Fundamentally we have always failed, like all the others, whoever they were, even the greatest minds. At some point, they suddenly failed and their system collapsed, as is proved by their writings, which we admire because they venture farthest into failure. To think is to fail, I thought.” 31 likes
“We have to keep company with supposedly bad characters if we are to survive and not succumb to mental atrophy. People of good character, so called, are the ones who end up boring us to death.” 28 likes
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