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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  563 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Ein Medizinstudent nimmt den Auftrag an, den Kunstmaler Strauch zu beobachten, der sich in das Gebirgsdorf Weng zurückgezogen hat. In seinen Aufzeichnungen hält er die Monologe und Visionen Strauchs fest, bis er entdeckt, daß diese Begegnung, die er bewältigen zu können glaubte, ihn selbst überwältigt.
Paperback, 315 pages
Published 1984 by Suhrkamp (first published 1963)
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They say that the great artist is able to take the personal and - through the glamours of their craft - present it as the universal: certainly the torment called life that afflicts the Painter Strauch in Bernhard's first published novel, Frost, will resonate with certain readers at certain parts; for myself, there was so much about Strauch's plight that hit home with stunning effect that I felt drained by the time I finished its 342 ragged, caustic and beautiful pages.

The novel is, essentially,
It's possible that this has been said once before; is one of the most common reasons for postponing suicide, that of wanting to simply add a few more words before the fatal decision? Taking Bernhard's typical premise for any of his novels, it almost seems as though the reason that he wrote at all was in order to thoroughly explain his dissatisfaction with the world around him before he made that final decision. Of course, Bernhard died of natural causes, but it even seems possible that death cau ...more
M. Sarki

The inn was one of that type where you would spend no more than a single night, and only if you had to...It wasn't any amenity it had, it was the shortcomings of it that delighted him. pg. 25

...He was just scraps of words and dislocated phrases. pg. 232

The incomprehensible is the miraculous. The un-understood world is the world of wonders, the one you understand has no wonder in it. pg. 270

Women were like rivers, their banks were unreachable, the night oft
I forgot where that was, but Brod once said something like this to Kafka: I feel like a mourning man among wedding guests, like a spider among butterflies.

Well, that’s the painter Strauch for you. You might also like to imagine him as the last human being on earth (that’s how he likes to perceive himself; no, that’s how he must necessarily see himself, otherwise he couldn’t have kept on existing for such a long time).

Frost is a mediation on self-loathing, a monologue within a monologue. It is St
A Meditation of Frost


Art has nothing to do.
The painter paints
in complete


Consider the speaker,
the reliability of the soul, whether
it exits or not, weather
it exists or not, everything
a matter
of inter-


It occurred to me, that today
was my 31st birthday. Not a soul
in the world is aware of this fact. And if
they are, they don’t know
where I am. Except my land-
lord, not a soul
where I am.


“. . . as the inside of a cow.”
I heard someone say, somehow
that it was snowing
Jim Elkins
'Frost' is yet another excrescence of Bernhard's imagination. This time it's a student who follows a painter, or rather a man who used to be a painter, in order to see if he is sane. Of course he isn't: that is so immediately obvious that the question becomes--as of the first five pages of the book--what kind of imagination the painter possesses.

The book offers no relief, no pleasure of slowly dawning insight (even if that insight is might reveal psychosis, impending suicide, unrelieved pessimi
Imagine if Beckett and Celine tagteamed a rewrite of the Magic Mountain, only the war is over, and the high-class sanatorium on a mountaintop is now a dilapidated inn in a festering valley.
'Helada' fue la novela que consagró al gran Thomas Bernhard, y noto que le falta a su prosa ese ritmo y repeteción tan característicos. Sin ser una mala novela, hay muchos momentos en que me aburrió, sobre todo por la avalancha de reflexiones sin (y con) sentido del pintor Strauch, que a veces rozan el hermetismo.

El cuadro que se ofrecía en los jardines de verano de los mesones le permitía a uno ver a los hombres en sus manejos más tontos. "Entrar en su mundo. Entrar en el mundo. ¿Táctica? ¡Cuan
Kobe Bryant
It's weird reading a Bernhard book thats basically like a normal book but it's still cool
En cualquier escrito de Bernhard, por nimio que sea, se encuentra a Bernhard y todo lo que su obra representa. Las formas en las que el mismo se materialice ya es objeto de puntualización y son determinadas, en gran medida, por la cronología misma del escritor, pero el hecho es que incluso en Helada, aun privada de ese estilo característico por el cual el autor es conocido y reconocido, encontramos los motivos bernhardianos. Y es crudo, es brillante, es denso y oscuro... una oscuridad, sin embar ...more
Bart Everson
One of the most unpleasant books I've ever had the displeasure of reading. I was looking for something grim and challenging, and this certainly qualifies. However, the most challenging aspect for this reader was being utterly bored by the lack of narrative momentum.

(I read this aloud to my wife who shared my general sense of revulsion. Perhaps this was not the best way to read this book.)

I find the idea of Bernhard intriguing; the capsule descriptions of his books and the reviews are compelling
jean lice
Nov 04, 2010 jean lice rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: studies, austrian
Man muß wissen, was bei ihm 'Verbitterung' heißt, was 'grundsätzlich' und was 'Licht' und 'Schatten' und 'Armut überhaupt'. Man weiß es nicht. [...] "Man muß es nicht wissen." (S. 84)

Dieser Auszug beschreibt anschaulich das Buch und dessen Verlauf. Bernhard legt einer alten, verbitterten, ausgegrenzten, ... Figur über 300 Seiten lang wirre und diffuse Phrasen in den Mund und führt den Leser durch krude und oftmals unzusammenhängende Gedankengänge. Über dieses leere Gerede und die sich ereifernde
"Wie er so allein in der Stationshalle vor dem Fahrkartenschalter stand, sah er aus wie ein Mensch, für den alles ein kurzes Kinderspiel ist, das tödlich ausgeht.

"Was geht in einem Gehirn vor, das die Vorstellung hat, der Mittelpunkt der Welt zu sein? Millionen von Mittelpunkten die auftauchen und erlöschen! Das ist die Welt. Das ist alles."

"Es fällt immer sehr viel Schnee zwischen ihm und mir."
shocking... less typical of bernhard's later style than i had expected, although the beginnings of his hammering vocabulary and phrase repetition are certainly there. four stars don't give the right idea of the book, especially some of the truly remarkable passages near the beginning of the book. highly, highly recommended.
Herrjemine, endlich bin ich durch!!!! Was für ein sagenhaft langweiliges Buch. Und normalerweise bin ich großer Bernhard-Fan... aber das... das war nun wirklich anstrengend und unerträglich. Hat man eine Seite gelesen, kennt man das ganze Buch. Das heißt, aller Rest fühlt sich an wie zähe Zeitverschwendung, in sich Hineinsteigern ins Unerträgliche - worum es ja auch in diesem Buch geht. Also: Man fühlt mit. Für diese Kunst dann auch zwei Punkte und nicht nur einen.
In meinen Augen wartet "Frost"
“Many ideas turn into lifelong disfigurements.”
Insanity is contagious. I think.
I had trouble finishing this book - maybe because I like to read in the morning, and I often didn't want to let this book foul my mood for the day. I came to a sort of reconciliation halfway through: an intelligent writer, but I don't accept his world view. The passage on p.270-271 demolished that idea:

The thought of a glass of beer leads to the wildest overestimates and thoughts: the world is what I am! Begins where I begin. And ends where I end. Is as bad as me. As good. No better, because me
Johann Guenther
BERNHARD, Thomas: „Frost“, Frankfurt 1972
Erstaunt schaut man realistisch gemalte Bilder aus der Jugendzeit eines abstrakten Malers an. So ist es auch mit diesem Buch von Bernhard. Leider las ich es erst so spät. Sein erstes großes Werk.
Ein Medizinstudent, der in den Ferien in einem Salzburger Krankenhaus arbeitet wurde von seinem Chef gebeten in einem kleinen Dorf den Bruder zu beschatten und einen Bericht zu liefern wie dieser lebe. Der Arzt hat schon Jahrzehnte keinen Kontakt zum Bruder und wi
Having recently wound up living in a small, strange mountain town—the setting for a number of his works—Berhard's writing has felt even more potent and visceral as of late. Frost is a bit of slog at times, mostly because it is quite long by Bernhard standards (being his inaugural novel, he has yet to arrive at his economical but devastating prose of the later works), and it doesn't let up at all throughout. But it's this massive, unkempt quality that gives the text color, and it also powerfully ...more
Here is Thomas Bernhard once again offering the “philosophy of the exacerbated bird’s-eye view of impure thought” as it goes “through the nitrogen of the primal condition of the devil,” “pitch[ing] wildness and quiet alternately at the disquiet of others.” His voicebox is the painter, Strauch, “one of those people . . . who tie tourniquets round the arteries of their thought, but to no effect; who pour themselves out in suicidal word-spate, who hate themselves in truth because the world of their ...more
Thomas Bernhard ist ein Phänomen für mich. Ein besonderer Schatz an die Literatur , weswegen ich in der Sorge lebe das er neben Broch, Canetti und Musil möglicherweise zu den vergessenen Größen der deutschsprachigen Literatur gehören könnte.
Bernhard schafft es in einen simplen Szenario , bei dem ein Medizinstudent sich unter falschen Vorwänden mit einem alten Maler anfreunden soll, eine Atmosphäre zu schaffen für die es in jeder mir bekannte Sprache an einen Wort sie zu beschrieben mangelt.
Jan 27, 2014 S.B. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of Robert Walser
Life is the purest, clearest, darkest, most crystalline form of hopelessness...There is only one way to go, through the snow and ice into despair; past the adultery of reason.

Bernhard's no optimist, but his pessimism is never boring. In fact, it's often quite a beautiful thing on the page (unlike in life). It teaches us, maybe, that when you get old and grumpy, you should couch your complaints in interesting language and someone will come study you and write a book about you.
Bernhard's first book, so the style is not quite as set (i.e. unparagraphed, fixated) as it became in his later books. It feels a lot more disconnected than some of the other novels, as there's not really any central topics that are ruminated upon obsessively--it's more a collection of interviews between a personality (the painter) and a witness (the medical student), and the bulk of those are composed of remarks made by the painter, on a wide range of subjects (the cold, death, work, education, ...more
Quedando claro que la puntuación se hace en comparación con las otras novelas de Bernhard. Ésta, la primera del autor, no llega aún a las cimas de expresión de las otras. Quizás podría ser obra maestra con 100 páginas menos. Sin embargo, Thomas Bernhard.
Impressionistic frostbite of the soul:

A medical student arranges with a surgeon to covertly monitor a painter named Strauch, the surgeon's brother, for signs of unusual behavior. The student spends a month with Strauch in a shabby village located in a high mountain valley, taking long walks in the woods and listening to his monologues of despair. As the rants progressively become more steeped in terror, madness, and revulsion at the human condition, the student looks into the abyss of Strauch's
Geoff Wyss
I can't really categorize this one "read" because I gave up around p. 80. Felt bad doing so because I love Bernhard--felt so bad that I promptly reread Concrete in expiation--but this one is nearly unreadable. The premise is fun and typically Bernhardian: the narrator is hired to shadow an aging, misanthropic painter--hired by the painter's brother, a doctor--who lives in a forgotten, cold, irrelevant mountain village. Most of the narrative is a recording of things the painter says, and the pain ...more
This book was a labor, as it must have been for Bernhard to write, to spend his life with these characters as it was for the narrator (the intern) and as it was for the painter Strauch. Tedium. Enlightening. Interminable.

Reading the work, regardless of no similarities to my life, conjures reflections and connections sometimes welcome and mostly not. Akin to being philosophical but philosophical is incorrect. Perhaps more a nostalgia without joy.

I do recommend it, and suggest you pick it up or
Fantastic novel by Thomas Bernhard. I've read so much of him and I continue to be amazed by his fantastic prose.
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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...
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“The study of sickness is the most poetic of the sciences.” 13 likes
“...He was just scraps of words and dislocated phrases.” 11 likes
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