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Gargoyles

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3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,003 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
The playwright and novelist Thomas Bernhard was one of the most widely translated and admired writers of his generation, winner of the three most coveted literary prizes in Germany. Gargoyles, one of his earliest novels, is a singular, surreal study of the nature of humanity.

One morning a doctor and his son set out on daily rounds through the grim mountainous Austrian coun
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Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Vintage International (first published 1967)
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(showing 1-30)
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David
Dec 01, 2010 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: thomas-bernhard
This was Thomas Bernhard before Thomas Bernhard was Thomas Bernhard. It's like he hadn't quite found the sweet spot yet. The first half is a very starchy, hopelessly Euro narrative about a doctor and his son visiting all the freaks and losers in the Austrian countryside. These two characters are so wooden and theoretical that I wanted them to get the hell out of the way so that I could enjoy the book because I definitely found the freaks and losers far more entertaining than their soporific disc ...more
Ben Winch
I notice some bad reviews for this one by folk who otherwise love Bernhard, and I have to say they puzzle me. In fact, the whole cult of Bernhard - which I've only really discovered since coming to Goodreads - puzzles me in some way, as does (I suppose) my own cultish behaviour towards him in the years when I read him often. Not that I ever really worshipped the guy, but I kept reading, partly just from a desire to find out why anyone would be driven to write as he did. Thus, after starting with ...more
Oscar
Con la lectura de cada obra de Bernhard, creo que voy conociéndolo mejor. Su literatura se compone de todos aquellos temas que le obsesionaron, la enfermedad, la mezquindad, la incomunicación, la violencia, la locura del ser humano. Esto lo tenía claro, pero también me he ido dando cuenta de que Bernhard tiene un sentido del humor muy peculiar, casi hilarante en algunas de las situaciones que plantea. Y que una literatura tan oscura, deprimente y pesimista como la de este escritor también te hag ...more
Marcello S
Apr 29, 2015 Marcello S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una delle cose più folli che abbia mai letto.
Un libro che parla di gente malata e pazza e non recuperabile.
Di gente sempre sul punto di togliersi la vita.

La carrellata di personaggi assurdi va dall’industriale ritiratosi in un padiglione di caccia al figlio storpio dei Krainer che vive in un letto circondato da una gabbia.

Le prime 50/60 pagine sono tese ma non irraggiungibili. Anche a livello tipografico, con gli a capo al punto giusto, fanno meno paura.
Tutto troppo semplice per essere Bernhard
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Szplug
Mar 14, 2010 Szplug rated it it was amazing
The original German title for Bernhard's third novel is Verstörung; this translates as Disturbance, as in something not quite right but not fully insane. This is an apt reflection of a novel that walks and teeters precariously around the bubbling edges of incapacitating madness; yet Gargoyles presents an image that also accurately describes the procession of twisted and grotesque beings that litter the frigid and menacing hinterlands of the Austrian province of Styria - a series of wracked figur ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Nov 17, 2011 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Half panorama of the freaks of one large stretch of Austria, half the study of one particular man's psychosis, this is a novel to be read with marked patience and attention. And it is a strange experience no matter how you go about it. At any given moment, I was either reading a passage so repetitious that it made me talk to myself, actually vocalizing "Grrrrr, come ON" *fist pound*, or perhaps the very next passage that was so lovely I read it over and over again and stuck a little scrap of jag ...more
Teresa
May 31, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-austria, e4
Perturbação é um romance ou uma dissertação sobre a porcaria que é a vida humana?

Um médico faz a visita diária aos seus doentes, acompanhado pelo filho, o narrador de um texto dividido em duas partes, que têm como ponto de união a família e o amor ou a indiferença que une/desune pais, filhos, irmãos...
- a primeira parte é composta por histórias de gente em sofrimento físico e cuja leitura, embora triste, é fácil de interiorizar e compreender;
- a segunda é o discurso alucinante de um homem, apare
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Lee
Feb 18, 2017 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now that I've read nearly all of Bernhard I agree with Stephen Dixon's impression that Bernhard improved with age: http://www.raintaxi.com/the-writer-re... -- this is early proto-Bernhard, with paragraph breaks, and so it seemed worth it to see glimmerings of the later refined style, the repetitive ranting, but nowhere near as intense, clear, and engaging as his later stuff. Every once in a while a character says something in that mature Bernhard style and you can almost feel the younger author ...more
Greg
May 28, 2010 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A young man home from college joins his father as he makes his rounds visiting patients at their homes. They visit the dead wife of a barkeep, whom was bludgeoned to death by a drunken patron the night before. They visit a man who lives with his sister and who is a crazy musical genius. They visit the mill owner and his two sons who have killed off all these rare birds the night before, not that the big pile of dead birds has anything to do with the doctor and his son visiting; and then with a l ...more
Cosimo
Dec 19, 2014 Cosimo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ignorando se stessi

“Noi ci costringiamo a non percepire il nostro abisso. Eppure, per tutta la vita, non facciamo altro che guardare giù, al nostro abisso fisico e psichico, pur senza percepirlo”.

Senza dubbio Perturbamento, secondo romanzo di Thomas Bernhard scritto in soli tre mesi, è un testo nichilista e inquietante. Per una serie di ragioni, ti porta ad una condizione di resa incondizionata alla sfiducia spirituale. La geometria delle tenebre di questo racconto oppone ordine e caos, ragione
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Jimmy
Aug 06, 2013 Jimmy rated it liked it
I'm entering into my second phase of Bernhard. In which I am no longer enamoured simply with Bernhard being Bernhard (though I enjoy it immensely). I know what he does, and I know he does it well, so what more can I say about a Bernhard book? There is no point focussing on the repetition, only that it's there. And no point focussing on the misanthropy or the humor or the very intentional style, only that it's there.

What interested me about this early Bernhard is that those things were not in pla
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Justin Evans
Aug 20, 2015 Justin Evans rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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 ...more
lisa_emily
Nov 14, 2011 lisa_emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: fictions
A warning, one must be in the correct mind-state to approach this novel. It is short, but it took me over a week to read, because I was not internalized enough to be still to read it the way it demands. Also I kept “hearing” Popol Vuh AKA Herzog film soundtracks, in my head while reading this. Why? Is it because the cover had an image reminiscent of Nosferatu –(actually that was the particular soundtrack that would play in my head while reading). Perhaps. Or maybe it was the mysterious Austrian ...more
Arwen56
Perturbamento è uno dei romanzi più pessimistici che io abbia mai letto. La visione che aveva Bernhard della sua terra natale era veramente tremenda. Inutile aggiungere che, di conseguenza, non è mai stato molto amato in patria.

Più che di un vero proprio romanzo, forse, sarebbe più corretto parlare di un succedersi di monologhi, in cui i diversi personaggi espongono situazioni, avvenimenti e considerazioni che, a partire dal particolare, finiscono per esprimere il generale. Il panorama è davver
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Ana
Nov 13, 2013 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m'effraye..."

Subir ao Hochgobernitz é uma escalada que se faz ao contrário. A subida ao castelo do príncipe Saurau é uma descida ao interior de uma loucura onde o ser se dispersou ao ponto da destruição.

Embrenhados numa ruralidade brutal e sombria (de cujos efeitos não podem também escapar), acompanhamos o médico local e o seu filho nas visitas a doentes que parecem tanto mais perturbados e destruídos (como se o físico fosse um espelho do interior) quan
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Adam
Jul 23, 2007 Adam rated it it was amazing
A storm of madness, suicide, caged boys, disease, cruelty, and newspapers. The air is getting sucked out of our atmosphere and the prince won't stop talking...a modern inferno, a mixture of anger and beauty in the tradition of Beckett.
Saxon
Jul 28, 2007 Saxon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of stories with dark, and subtle surreality.
If you have read an interview or read about Bernhard then it becomes immediately obvious that the man is a bit mad and a borderline nihilist. Nevertheless, I often find myself strangely fascinated with his outlook on the world and I even sometimes agree with him. At first, it seems that this man sees a very bleak and meaningless world; which is true. However, his total willingness to take this world in with all his horror, tragedy and confusion is nothing short of amazing.

Gargoyles is what one w
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pierlapo  quimby
In viaggio tra i monti e le valli della Stiria accompagniamo nel suo giro di visite il medico locale e con lui entriamo in osterie e mulini, fattorie e castelli, e dopo ogni incontro con la varia umanità del luogo, sino all'ossessivo e disturbante soliloquio del principe Saurau, ci sentiamo come oppressi, preda di una tensione che ci atterrisce, tra attrazione e repulsione veniamo rapiti da quello che vediamo ma al tempo stesso cresce in noi il desiderio di lasciarcelo al più presto alle spalle, ...more
David
Apr 02, 2008 David rated it really liked it
Though this isn't my favorite Bernhard novel, it's still pretty breathtaking. I think the first half of the novel works better than the second, which is strange since the first half is less "Bernhardesque" than the last half. But then, this was only his second novel, and he was still finding out how to fully effectively wield his monologue/rant style with which he closes this novel.

Still, there's much brilliance here, and a heaping dose of distrust, paranoia, fear, and a generally jaded view of
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Leandro Ribeiro
Oct 12, 2012 Leandro Ribeiro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativas
Este livro andava lá por casa há muito tempo. Sempre o evitei por - e não minto, meus amores - ter uma capa feia e uma descrição na contracapa que anunciava uma lamechice insuportável. Ocorre-me qualquer coisa sobre juízos e capas de livros e coiso e tal.

Ignorante de quem era Thomas Bernhard, comecei a ler Perturbações sem grande excitação na moleirinha. Mas depois veio aquele desfile de bizarrias, um festival de personagens grotescas e maravilhosas que iam sendo visitadas pelo médico e pelo seu
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Sal Jenko
Curioso... A tratti intrigante e originale, a tratti estenuante (e originale). La netta divisione in 2 parti molto diverse segnala un progetto che però è difficile da penetrare completamente e ancor più da farsi piacere.
La prima metà si presenta come una passeggiata all'inferno insieme a un padre e un figlio entrambi consapevoli che brutalità, follia, morte e suicidio sono ovunque, sono un dato naturale con cui si è costretti a convivere ("tutto è malato e triste"). Eppure la scrittura non è ap
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Lenny Wick
May 12, 2014 Lenny Wick rated it liked it
My second Bernhard, and I'd put the rating somewhere between 3 and 4. Where Concrete is lead by an alluring, mesmerizingly cantankerous voice of a procrastinating narrator, and is wrapped up with as quietly tangible (and nearly literal) a memento mori as ever kissed off the end of a book, Gargoyles doesn't quite come together. Still, any Bernhard is worth far more than most any book.

The German title is Verstörung, which I believe translates as Disturbance. I do not know whether in German the wor
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Brent Legault
Sep 11, 2008 Brent Legault rated it really liked it
A monologue, or series of monologues, related by madmen and suicides. Suicide is important to Bernhard. You might even call it his idee fixe. And there were times, I'll admit, while reading this novel, when I myself considered suicide. Somewhere deep within the haunted forest of the novel's second half, the prince's rambling narrative, I wondered what it would be like to shut my eyes, to never open them again. (My visions of suicide are always pain free.)

This novel is gloom-ridden and intentiona
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Amy
Oct 02, 2007 Amy rated it it was amazing
My first introduction to Bernhard was actually an interview published in a recent Harper's. He comes across as a curmudgeon, and that's enough for me to be at least a little interested. I'm also in the process of reading Beckett's novels and Bernhard is often compared to Beckett...my experience so far is that Bernhard is much easier to follow...

I liked Gargoyles a lot. The first section deals with a rural a doctor and his college-aged son going on patient rounds. Every incident is fairly odd or
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Rebecca
Aug 06, 2007 Rebecca rated it really liked it
This is a thoroughly strange book. I've been puzzling over its slim 200 pages for two months, and I'm still not done. The narrative is loose--a boy goes on the rounds with his father, a doctor. By page 80, they have arrived at the estate of a deranged prince, and the remaining 120 pages are devoted to the rantings of said prince.

There's almost no effort to help you, the reader, make sense of what is happening or why this is important. And yet it doesn't feel self-indulgent--there's a muscular q
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Trixie B
May 22, 2007 Trixie B rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: existentialists
Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian writer and his work is basically understood to be almost entirely auto-biographical, housing his consideration of human existence beneath a thin fictional guise. His work includes almost no description of anything physical, instead creating a very detailed inner life for his characters. I just finished reading Camus' Exile and the Kingdom, and the two have similar styles. I'm really enjoying this book, which is narrated by the son of a country doctor, accompanying ...more
NobilisGughy
May 13, 2014 NobilisGughy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un viaggio nel grottesco affondare di un’umanità perturbata, consumata, putrefatta, sempre furiosamente o lucidamente folle. Un libro terminale, senza speranza, che scava nel profondo della nostra scelleratezza e che culmina nella totale squalifica del mondo presente.

Permane nell’aria l’incombere della morte, e il malinconico ricordo di un glorioso, imponente passato, il cui lascito noi, eredi falliti, abbiamo ottusamente dilaniato.

Non rimane che desolazione.
Andrew
About what you expect from a novel set in the Waldheim-voting incestuous backwoods of Middle Europe, especially if you've read Bernhard before. One decrepit prince in an equally decrepit castle, a lot of vile-seeming Catholics milling about. It's not the best Bernhard I've read, not by a wide margin, but if you like the derangement and bitterness that mark his other novels (or derangement and bitterness in general), you'll probably like Gargoyles.
Donato
Dec 25, 2012 Donato rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to describe this book? A journey through a land of sickness and death? A journey _into_ sickness and death? A journey into our innermost thoughts? A journey into solitude and insanity? A journey into every possibility? A relentless, dizzying, tormented soliloquy? Or all of the above, plus much more? [1]

The first clue is in the title, which tells us so much, or so little, as the case may be. The original German title is _Verstörung_, which seems to have several different translations into Eng
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Gargoyles/ Fallen angels 1 4 Jan 26, 2015 06:29AM  
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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.

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
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“It would be wrong to refuse to face the fact that everything is fundamentally sick and sad.” 122 likes
“Everyone, he went on, speaks a language he does not understand, but which now and then is understood by others. That is enough to permit one to exist and at least to be misunderstood.” 56 likes
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