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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  350 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The narrator, a scientist working on antibodies and suffering from emotional and mental illness, meets a Persian woman, the companion of a Swiss engineer, at an office in rural Austria. For the scientist, his endless talks with the strange Asian woman mean release from his condition, but for the Persian woman, as her own circumstances deteriorate, there is only one answer.
Hardcover, 135 pages
Published 1991 by Quartet Books (first published 1978)
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Hey, everyone! I finished a book! I realize that this is approximately the equivalent of crying out, 'I got laid!' at a brothel, but there you have it. I've been reduced to this. For the past eighteen months or so I've been a non-reader—a demographic I'm not generally comfortable consorting with—or, at best, a half-assed reader; I'll read forty pages of this and set it down—and then thirty pages of that and set it down. My home is a ruins of literary misadventures. I hate to be the philanderer w...more
M. Sarki

Not enough praise has been accorded regarding the story-telling talents of Thomas Bernhard. There have been more than enough remarks referring to his long tirades and vitriol as well as his use of the long-sentenced paragraph and repetitive phrase. In this novel Yes not only does the reader come to a clear understanding of story, there is also a distinct and memorable feeling for this extreme setting and its inhabitants. By book's end it is obvious this no...more
After all, there is nothing but failure.

Yes, as another GR reviewer posited, is generally held to be one of Bernhard's minor works, but it is a perfectly-executed short piece markedly positioning itself within the transition from the earlier TB of Correction and The Lime Works to the mature period of Old Masters and The Loser. The narrative style, mental torment, personality debilitation, circular reasoning, and objective loathing/subjective despair are all in place from the previous (and much l...more
Holy Jesus Fuck, Yes is excellent. Now, I'm not sure if you'll like it because you've got to get accustomed to Bernhard's style. He'll extend a sentence, via dependent clause, for pages on end. No chapter breaks, either. Hell, no paragraph breaks. But once you get in a groove with Mr. Bernhard, whoa, he's through the roof good.

Yes is told entirely from the perspective of a mostly-socially isolated scientist who encounters a Persian woman while unloading his psychological ills on to a friend. The...more
La prosa de Bernhard produce un extraño efecto en el lector. Más que repetitiva, yo diría que es cíclica. Como si de una pieza de música se tratara, Bernhard nos va contando una historia para volver sobre sus pasos e ir profundizando sobre lo ya contado; y lo que parecían simples detalles pasan a convertirse en parte fundamental de la novela. De esta manera quedas atrapado en esta particular tela de araña que tan bien ha urdido Bernhard. A ello contribuye también los escasos puntos y aparte, que...more
Nate D
Sep 16, 2010 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nate D by: Troy S., though not specifically this of his books.
Shelves: read-in-2010, austria
Surprisingly enjoyable (and sort of weirdly funny) considering what a grim disgorging of despair and nihilism this is, and how little actually happens. An isolated scientist, too depressed for months to continue his research (on antibodies), arbitrarily breaks his self-destructive cycle upon meeting a new couple who has just bought land in the area. But you know his unjustified enthusiasm cannot possibly last. Told entirely inside the protagonist's head, in just two paragraphs in 135 pages, as h...more
I borrowed this from a friend after having Bernhard pop up in several places in my life on one day.


Perhaps it would be better if I took more time to think before reviewing books, but somehow I like to write out what I have to say in a provisional state. Perhaps I'm just looking for conversation...

I liked this book a lot. It's the narrators voice foremost as that is what this book is almost entirely. He has a somewhat savage side to him, but this comes across more as a realistic view of...more
Charles Kell
Sometimes I hear myself saying Ja-Ja-Ja quickly, silently, so as to put a little spunk--to use Ursula's word--into my ponderousness. Ja-Ja-Ja I say to myself, and not even in Dutch.--John Hawkes, Death, Sleep & the Traveler
bernhard writes a devastating book, a poetry of mental illness -- without romanticism but with music, true also to the horror. both an emulation of the sickness and an attendant commentary on its causes and end. we read bernhard for his musical eremitism, which takes the barest fact, the most stripped-down situation (here, a man living in the country, encountering a potential and temporary walking and talking companion) and creates a layered, bittersweet counterpoint at times as rich as bach.

marki jones
Oct 01, 2007 marki jones rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who talk to fast
Shelves: jones
i enterd 15,634 characters about this book for my review, and the max is 4000 characters. if you want to know what i wrote i guess read my blog. I guess this also means you are intrigued and you will read the book.
Oliver Twist & Shout
Hay que comprender que (por lo menos en mi caso) el gran triunfo de Bernhard no consiste en lo conmovedor de su relato o el hilvanaje de ideas deslumbrantes, si no en su ejecución técnica: como con muy pocos mimbres teje esos textos de prosa tumultuosa, compuesta principalmente de largas subordinadas exentas de florituras que siempre consiguen cerrar sin extravíos la lógica que empiezan, lo que Marías no siempre consigue, y sin dar una sola muestra de impostura o frivolidad, cosa que sí le ocurr...more
While not quite as accomplished as some of his other novels, Yes is an extremely accessible example of the interiority that comprises Bernhard's writing style, and one that works in most of his major obsessions/themes without belaboring any of them to a degree that impedes the swift flow of the text. The narrative voice is provided by an Austrian intellectual who, having come to the crux-point of his lengthy depression, is inspired by the presence at his friend's real estate office of a newly ar...more
Erikoinen kirja. Kuvaus kertojan päänsisäisestä liikehdinnästä, kun hän velloo mielenterveytensä horjumisen ja elämäntyönsä sekä ympäristön ihmiskohtaloiden ristiaallokossa. Teksti on tajunnanvirtamaista, kiemuraista, junnaavaa ja ladottu ilman kappale- tai muita jakoja. Vaikeaselkoista kyllä, mutta myös nautittavaa ja suorastaan huvittavaa, kun juttu ei vaan etene, vaikka selostusta riittää. Tässä on kuitenkin myös ihan selkeä tarina ja lopulta suorastaan dramaattinen päätös. Jättää myös paljon...more
lyell bark
this book is pretty cool??/ the title + ending + the slog thru the damp miserable forest with the persian woman sort of sets up the book as a parody/response/whatever 2 the final chapter of ulysses, which i think it is, because i'm hella smrt and cool. reminds me of correction mostly, and the loser sort-of. some funy bits were imho our narrator/monologist crouching for an indeterminite time on the floor, locking all his manscripts and notes in his attic because he can't bear to look at them, and...more
Piacevole e piacevolmente tipico, appaiono pressoché tutti i leitmotiv di Bernhard, dalle crisi psichiche, all'isolamento, attacchi alle istituzioni e suicidio. In più in Sì compare una donna, la persiana, motore del racconto, elemento veramente poco frequente in Bernhard.
Siccome é proprio tipico, non consiglierei Sì se mi chiedessero di suggerire un libro per iniziare a conoscere Bernhard.
Bernhard is incredible. But I never know to whom I should recommend him.

This book has two paragraphs. One is about 50 pages long, the other about 85 pages long. The narrator has some seemingly pretty serious emotional problems. There are only three other major characters. The narrator loops and mutters and clarifies and backtracks constantly, and for the first few pages you're ready to scream at him: get on with it, tell me what you're going to tell me!

But Bernhard knows what he's doing. The del...more
Patty Cottrell
i don't know if it's the translation, but this was not quite as good as other works by bernhard. the ending, however, is perfect.
justin louie
no one does bleak or truthful better, what with the endless sentences that just kind of circle down the drain in slow motion
I needed something to read while going to the bathroom and I picked this one, not knowing what to expect. Rarely does a book manage to keep you butt-naked over your own shit till the last page. Recommended.
Jan G
I liked this. I think I would recommend this to someone brand new to Bernhard. The title as last word makes the piece seem like it's got its own firm, neat shape. It's sort of like eating a sandwich that keeps filling up w/ stuff & perhaps starts rotting at the same time while you're stretching your mouth open to bite. But alas you bite and the piece is over. I just want to note to myself: I felt kinship with this book. It made me feel better, happier even. Next on the list is Correction...
Una novela corta en la cual Bernhard demuestra su habilidad como autor.
De un humor negro sumamente agradable, Sí, es la historia de cuatro personajes presentados como conceptos, por ejemplo, del protagonista, ni siquiera conocemos el nombre, pero llegamos a entenderle como un neurótico que vuelca sobre el lector todas sus ansiedades e inseguridades y nos relata como para él hasta lo más hermoso se desgasta, recordándonos varios de los ejes fundamentales del existencialismo ateo.
This reading made me somewhat difficult by the constant repetition of words, but I understood that it is not a defect, rather an author's technique. Bernhard's ability to transmit this sick atmosphere surrounding the characters makes a good book.

Libro recomendable para los que gustan de lecturas de atmósferas densas. Es un largo monólogo que aturde por momentos, pero al final uno tiene la sensación de que ha leído algo que ha transmitido muy bien los estados patológicos del alma.
After an extensive Bronte binge (yet to be chronicled here), this 130 page modernist stocking stuffer was a nice change of pace. The first sentence is 2 1/2 pages long and the breathless, barely sane, rush of the narrator's thoughts, and the ending on an exclamation of Yes! could conceivably be intended to evoke Molly Bloom's soliloquy at the end of Ulysses - regrettably the closing affirmative affirms suicide, not sexual delight - dreary, iron-laden modernist!
The lack of paragraph breaks must be a European/Latin American quirk. Bernhard, Sebald, Saramago, Marías, Bolaño. Every one of them seems to be rebelling against narrative form. It must be some kind of political statement. Yes is one of Bernhard's relentless rants. There is something oddly uplifting in the whole exercise. Bernhard's cantankerous sensibility will either disarm or repel the reader. I am solidly in the first camp.
Set in Austria, the narrator makes the acquaintance of a Persian woman, the companion of a Swiss intent on settling in an abandoned run down house.
As the two get to know each other the doctor feels improvement in his own mental state, at the same time he relates what is happening to the Persian woman. The title is the answer to the question which the doctor asks the woman.
Key Passage: "We conversed silently and our conversation was one of the most stimulating imaginable; words uttered and strung together for the ears could not have had such an effect as that silence." p. 53
treasure friends, assess isolation
Lena Steinberg
Lena Steinberg marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2014
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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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“[...] Das allerdings ist ein absurder Gedanke. Andererseits sind, wie ich im Laufe meines Lebens jetzt schon mit Entschiedenheit weiß, gerade die absurden Gedanken die klarsten Gedanken und die absurdesten die wichtigsten überhaupt.” 4 likes
“... y con ningua otra he hablado nunca sobre todo lo imaginable con mayor intensidad y, por tanto, disposición para comprender y, por tanto, he podido pensar con mayor intensidad y disposición para comprender sobre todo lo imaginable, y nadie me ha dejado nunca mirar nunca dentro de sí más profundamente y a nadie he dejado mirar nunca dentro de mí más profunda y desconsideradamente y cada vez más desconsiderada y profundamente.” 3 likes
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