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Extinction

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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,438 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
Thomas Bernhard is one of the greatest twentieth-century writers in the German language. Extinction, his last novel, takes the form of the autobiographical testimony of Franz-Josef Murau. The intellectual black sheep of a powerful Austrian land-owning family, Murau lives in Rome in self-exile. Obsessed and angry with his identity as an Austrian, he resolves never to return ...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published 1995 by Quartet (first published 1986)
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Paul Bryant
Mar 10, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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
Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος   Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο   Αμούν Arnum
Τόμας Μπέρνχαρντ,σε αφανίζει κυριολεκτικά με την εμμονή του στην γυμνή αλήθεια και στον κόσμο της περισυλλογής.

Τον αγάπησα επειδή μου δημιούργησε μια ψυχοσωματική επαφή με το συγγραφικό του σύμπαν.

Τον φοβήθηκα,επειδή κατάφερε να μου αποδείξει πως είμαστε παγιδευμένοι και κολλημένοι σε έναν θλιβερό κόσμο αμβλύνοιας και προσποίησης.
Έχουμε επίγνωση των ψευδαισθήσεων, των ενόχων, της ψευτιάς και της υποκρισίας γύρω μας, αλλά θέλουμε να μείνουνε παγιδευμένοι,απρόθυμοι και ανίκανοι να αποκοπούμε απ
...more
İntellecta
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion once you get used to the writing style of Thomas Bernhard and his literary challenges and peculiarities, you have to immerse yourself into his person to enjoy his literature. His cold humor and style are certainly not for everybody. This novel – his last greatest prose work – is his attempt to manage the traumatically liberated misfortune of his childhood and early years as he represents his family in the environment of the Austrian nobility and put it in all its facets and accuses ...more
Lisa
There are days when I see the world with the eyes of Thomas Bernhard, and I feel like filling a whole novel with a long, breathless rant against the incredible stupidity, the horrific narrow-mindedness, the scary Nazi propaganda of mainstream, small town mentality in the post-World War Two Western Hemisphere, and I take a deep breath, only to choke on the poisoned air filled with the evil of selfrighteous white nationalists basking in the publicity they receive when they endorse each other again ...more
M. Sarki
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-wonders
http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/5179587...

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
...more
AC
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Correction
Concrete
The Loser -- about Glenn Gould -- and
Extinction

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

I
...more
Jessica
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bad-guys
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?)
...more
zumurruddu
"Pur di provare sollievo non esitiamo a camminare sui cadaveri"

Per quasi 500 pagine seguiamo i pensieri di un uomo che, appena appresa la notizia della morte improvvisa dei genitori e del fratello, non fa altro che sputare veleno sulla propria famiglia - persone realmente abiette in effetti, con cui ha sempre avuto rapporti altamente conflittuali - e sulle proprie origini. E in definitiva, su se stesso. Uno sfacelo, per l'appunto, come recita il sottotitolo.

Lo stile di Bernhard, in questa sorta
...more
Andrew
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
Lee
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Michael
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was my introduction to Bernhard, and what a powerful introduction it was. I became obsessed with his obsessive, discursive writing style, the way his sentences loop back on themselves to describe something several different ways. You have to give yourself to it and stop expecting the usual plot or character mechanics of most conventional fiction, but once you do, it's an exhilarating ride.
Pantelis
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enter the vortex...

Before you start, watch Visconti's The Damned to get in the right mood...
Dajana
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ovo je delo koje bi svako trebalo da pročita nekad, posebno kad vam se učini da ste besni na svaki koren u sebi i svaku kategoriju pripadnosti porodici, ljudima, prijateljima, odnosima, institucijama, državi, zemlji, konvencijama pristojnosti i međuljudskih odnosa, jer "Brisanje: raspad" je upravo to - jedno veliko brisanje identiteta u sumanutom naletu pripovedačevog besa, ali ubrzo ćete shvatiti da jednostavna mržnja nikad nije jednostavna, i da bes prema malograđanstvu neminovno onog koji ga ...more
DRM
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
After reading this, I have the sneaking suspicion that Thomas Bernhard doesn't really like Austria.
Bên Phía Nhà Z
đoạn kết sến hãi hùng =)))
Stephen Durrant
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Daniel Leverquin
Roman je svojevrsni obračun Bernharda sa celim svojim bićem, svojom državom, nacijom, ali mora se priznati sa mnogim lošim stvarima koji ti nazovi entiteti nose u sebi u ovom slučaju. Tautologija koja služi da opiše sopstveni paroksizam, preovladava knjigom, a taj opis dodatno pojačava time što je pisan u prvom licu.

Pisac secira sebe, svoju porodicu, državu, a na ostatku tog leša je kontroverzna priča, koja u nekim trenucima dobija tragikomičan karakter. Kritička žaoka romana je usmerena na malo
...more
Auguste
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bernhard can be expressly difficult, and way too bitter for some readers' taste, but his swansong novel, despite its bleakness, is SO funny. It's like reading music, really - leitmotifs, long stretches of prose as gorgeous as the best of melodies, plus a heady mixture of sarcasm and self-sarcasm that cuts so deep it takes a while for the startled blood to ooze.

It can be scary, such genius; and a burden. But we're lucky (blessed, really) that writers like Bernhard bore it so bravely and generous
...more
Héctor Genta
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'accuse bernhardiano contro tutto e tutti. Un libro che parla di morte e dell'incapacità (impossibilità?) di accettare lo status quo. Una lettura a tratti faticosa, un monologo torrenziale dove il protagonista, Franz Josef Murau/Thomas Bernhard, con una prosa ossessiva, fatta di reiterazioni continue quasi fosse lingua parlata, lancia i suoi strali di volta in volta contro la famiglia, l'Austria, la Chiesa, il nazionalsocialismo (ma anche il socialismo per come è stato applicato) e in genere co ...more
Sean
Jul 28, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

Goodreads certainly does not need another review of a Thomas Bernhard novel. However, having now completed my reading of his novels, I will shamelessly debase myself by dribbling out a few meager comments. This book was not what I expected, though going into it my expectations were admittedly vague. I figured it would present itself as Bernhard’s masterwork. Perhaps it is that, and I am unable to see it. My current disinterest in fiction smears any perspective beyond recognition. There are a few
...more
Axolotl
This seems to be Bernhard's creative apogee, in what is already a relentlessly iconoclastic and unique body of work.
Although Bernhard's most imposing novel in terms of sheer proportion, a few brief sentences could easily describe the physical action within it---the action, as it were, of a "living dead" people--both those complicit and those scarred by Austria's shameful past.
Extinction brings together and seamlessly blends practically all Bernhardian motifs and preoccupations and manages to f
...more
Jimmy
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
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: http://www.waggish.org/2005/07/07/tho...
Aaron Arnold
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2013
"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
...more
Frabe
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A volte i grandi libri si leggono con un piacere totale, convinto e continuativo dall’inizio alla fine. La lettura di “Estinzione” comporta invece una certa fatica, legata sia alla struttura del romanzo, un lunghissimo flusso di coscienza con una sola minima interruzione tra le due parti che lo compongono, sia ai temi trattati, pesanti, come pesante è quel passato che il narratore vorrebbe definitivamente “estinguere”, anche con l’aiuto dello sfogo letterario.
Ma la fatica della lettura paga quan
...more
Deanne
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Colin
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a far from easy book to read. The style is unusual, but one soon gets used to that. It is the relentless attack on all that so many of us have been brought up to revere that makes it such a challenge. Family, church, politicians, clergy all come in for a drubbing. And I'm afraid much of it rings so true to me, which makes it doubly difficult. The fascists, the Nazis, the National Socialists are attacked right through, but that is quite expected. But the nations that supported them too, ...more
Christopher
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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.

Tamar Nagel
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Extinction is a work of art that shoulders the responsibility of describing the modern world. Thomas Bernhard is a revelation in progress- finishing the book does not imply that thinking about it is over; his grasp of nuance, his loathing for postwar Austrian culture, postwar Europe, the sickness of the modern world, and the hypocrisy of his contemporaries and predecessors: all are searingly exposed and neatly arranged in beautiful prose.

Austrian authors are remarkable for their intensity, lang
...more
Simon Robs
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've read one, you've read them all. I've read his first (novel), seven in between and now his last which fittingly is titled "Extinction" for that is mercifully an annihilation (another pet descriptor of his). How could he loath so much? Every book full on hate, misanthropic run-on&on monologue each/every, you'd think it would drag; miraculously it doesn't!

With this last rendition it's Franz-Josef Murau who is doing the hating, but with Berhard it's like the Inuit equivalent for a hun
...more
Ta
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rozumiem wkład Bernharda w austriackie rozliczenie z nazizmem, ale z tej książki dowiadujemy się nie tylko, że wszyscy kolaborowali, ale też, że Bernhard jest wyjątkowo antypatycznym i zadufanym w sobie bucem (a dokładniej był). Tym niemniej "Wymazywanie" naturalnie warto przeczytać, bo rzeczywiście z popełnionych przez niego dzieł jest najpełniejsze, jeśli chodzi o obraz świata z którym zmagał się w swojej twórczości.
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1,038 followers
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
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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.” 62 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.” 56 likes
More quotes…