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The Voice Imitator

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  858 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
The Austrian playwright, novelist, and poet Thomas Bernhard (1931-89) is acknowledged as among the major writers of our times. At once pessimistic and exhilarating, Bernhard's work depicts the corruption of the modern world, the dynamics of totalitarianism, and the interplay of reality and appearance.

In this stunning translation of The Voice Imitator, Bernhard gives us one
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published December 22nd 1997 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1978)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thomas-bernhard
Bernhard's adventures in flash fiction are a tad disappointing because most tend to rely on the same gimmick; he often begins them by mimicking the neutral, banal language of newspaper reports—identifying protagonists by profession, locality, and incident in a labyrinthine network of clauses and phrases—and then finishes with a wowie-zowie karate chop of the morbid, sensational, or absurd. Or all three at once. In some cases, this works well, but in others, you feel as though you've wandered int ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Neki čovek je u Acbahu ubio svoju ženu, jer je ova, po njegovom mišljenju, iz zapaljene kuće spasla pogrešno dete. Nije spasila osmogodišnjeg sina, od kojeg je njen muž želeo da stvori nešto posebno, već ćerku, koju on nije mnogo voleo. Kada su ga pred okružnim sudom u Velzeru pitali šta je nameravao sa svojim sinom, koji je potpuno izgoreo u požaru, čovek je odgovarao da je od njega želeo da napravi anarhistu, masovnog ubicu i rušioca diktature države."

Ako ikada dođete negde 30-40 minuta ranij
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction

If Edward Gorey had been a Central European, he might have written these stories, all less than one page, filled with a spry, dark lunacy. In "Speleologists," a team of them enters an Austrian cave. When the speleologists fail to emerge on the expected date, a second team of speleologists is sent in to find them. This team also fails to emerge, and a third team is sent in. This team also fails to emerge, whereupon the authorities wall up the cave.

In "Pisa and Venice," the mayors of the two citie
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short narratives written out as newspaper items. Very original and super cynical with a certain amount of ice attached to it. Bernhard is the ultimate writer's writer. I never met a writer who was not either crazy about his writing or at least admire his work. This is my favorite of his for some reason. I think because of the style of writing and the humor that comes through it. And again it's very harsh but done in such a beautiful way.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
„Mrzim ljude, ali oni su istovremeno i razlog što živim“ - moto austrijskog pisca - mizantropa Tomasa Bernharda potvrđuje se u svakoj maloj pričici u ovoj zbirci. Ali, ta mržnja nije usmjerena samo ka ljudima, već i prema svakoj ljudskoj tvorevini, pre svega državi. Te male priče, minijaturne ponekad, više liče na kratke, novinske vesti istrgnute iz crne hronike, bizarne, banalne, morbidno duhovite a sve njih povezuje neka vrsta ludila. Interesantna knjiga koja se brzo čita i otvara nova pitanja ...more
a  Lena
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stotinjak pričica čija dužina varira od jedne rečenice do jedne stranice. Priče podsjećaju na novinske članke, na mješavinu rubrika "crna hronika" i "zanimljivosti", sa samoubistvima, izdajama, nasiljem... Na momente apsurdno, na momente mračno i duhovito - tipično bernhardovska suptilna satira.
Jun 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bathroom reading, Bernhard style
J.W.D. Nicolello
If this book replaced The Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, Shakespeare, or whatever the hell else they teach and will continue to teach in order to indoctrinate growing minds with adolescent fantasy about the looming world of shit which is adulthood, at least the public school children could be prepared to turn on the news, or read a newspaper, or understand what is actually going to happen, and what does happen, around the world. Then, and only then, could a young person embrace Shakespea ...more
Bernhard is a master of tone and his books are studies in quiet devastation. He presents here 104 stories, each less than one page, and while I usually do not like such short pieces (they are often gimmicky or shallow) this collection is brilliant. Many of the stories are taken from newspaper accounts of strange or disturbing events: suicides, murders, disappearances; and they work on each other cumulatively, creating a strange and fluid snapshot of a sick society. Bernhard highlights the ironic ...more
‘El imitador de voces’ es un compendio de microrrelatos publicado por Thomas Bernhard en 1978. Se trata de ciento cuatro historias breves, que van desde apenas unas líneas hasta una longitud de una página. Son textos que abarcan desde lo periodístico a lo meramente anecdótico, con notas de humor negro y mucho cinismo, pese a hablar muchas veces de verdaderas tragedias. En otras ocasiones habla desde lo absurdo o lo tierno. Pero lo que siempre hace Bernhard, es movernos a la reflexión, incluso en ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of one-page or less irony-drenched narratives that read like existential parables. Austria, Bernhard's native country, is given an extremely harsh critique, particularly vis a vis artists, thinkers, scientists.

The general theme seems to be something along the lines of: "If you are talented and do good works not only will you not be recognized but your life will be made so miserable that you will not wish to leave any of your art behind for posterity."

Oh, and it's funny as hell.
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Di suicidi, omicidi e devastazioni orribili. Ma in piccole cronache narraea con terribile neutralità e capaci quindi di stordire e di far perder la testa in labirintici logorii.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okuduğum ilk Thomas Bernhard kitabı ve bu sayede bütün kitaplarını okuma listeme aldım. Öykü meraklıları için birebir.
Bu kitabın temasını, ölüm, akıl hastalığı, intihar ve yolculuk oluşturuyor.
Dec 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: microfiction
I read one of these during a class -- maybe my microfiction class -- and thought I'd seek out the rest. Bernhard has a very clear, precise, hard-hitting style, for the most part. There are some verbal ticks, and some labyrinthine sentences, which may be due to his style or to the translator. They got in the way for me, particularly as the commas were not in natural places all the time.

The stories are very simple, little anecdotes, snippets from news stories real or imagined, a moment's thought c
Marija Benić
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apsolutno Bernhard za pocetnike.
Ko se nije sreo sa njim do sada, a hoce da mu da sansu, treba da pocne od ove knjige. Cisto da i sebi da prostora da se privikne na nadasve specifican stil pisanja.
Splet neobicnih prica i veoma upecatljivih likova.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I purchased this book I had great expectations. And unfortunately it was disappointing. The stories were boring and predictable. Save your money.
Πρόκειται για ένα βιβλίο 38 ετών αλλά επίκαιρο και διαχρονικό στο σύνολο του.
Οι 104 μικρές ιστορίες είναι στην πλειοψηφία τους ενδιαφέρουσες και μόνο κάποιες από αυτές αφήνουν απορημένο τον αναγνώστη σχετικά με το κρυμένο νόημα τους. Το ύφος είναι ιδιαίτερο, με μεγάλες προτάσεις και συνεχή ροή μιας ανάσας.
Αρκετές είναι αστείες, άλλες διδακτικές αλλά όλες αληθινές και με μια επικάλυψη ειρωνίας που παρουσιάζεται ως αθωότητα ή αφέλεια.
Φαντάζομαι τον συγγραφέα να κρατάει σημειώσεις στο τετραδιάκι
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
104 one paragraph stories, not longer than a page, almost entirely unconnected. Stories seem to be drawn from newspaper accounts, hearsay and conversation (gossip). Often told in the 1st person plural, in an unsentimental and bleak way.

Bitter, black, scornful, absurd, cynical and mad. Many times about murder, suicide, corruption (politics) and character assassination (or unappreciated 'genius' artists).

Two of the shorter stories to give you an impression:

"Hotel Waldhaus"
We had no luck with the
Paul Fulcher
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A relatively easy introduction to Thomas Bernhard but one that doesn't capture the full power of his work.

This is almost micro-fiction, 100 stories each told on at most one page, often significantly shorter.

The black humour of Thomas Bernhard's work is very much present - indeed some were laugh-out-loud funny - but it doesn't really capture the full force of his novels with the repetitive hammer blows of their convuluted sentences and unremittingly black, but still darkly humorous, prose, usual
Alberto Bellini
Si tratta del mio primo contatto con questo autore, assai prolifico e discusso. sicuramente l'opera in questione è minore, ma significativa. sono una serie di brevissimi fatti, abbozzi di trame. assolutamente scorrevoli e che danno l'impressione di una sostanziale superficialità perlomeno all'inizio, quasi di un divertimento. lentamente però il tono cambia, la presenza della morte, del suicidio, della pazzia, della stupidità imperante che porta ciascuno dei protagonisti al suicidio o alla fuga, ...more
Eddie Watkins
When I read some of Bernhard's books quite a few years ago I wasn't even aware that he had written anything like this - very short "stories", some almost like newspaper squibs (like Tosh mentions), but also like mysterious dark parables. In reading his novels you could get the impression that Bernhard's strength lies in his almost primal incantantory rhythms and repetitions and headlong powerful rush of words, but this book, by being almost like strobe-lit moments or still snapshots of his prose ...more
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sterminio sistematico alla Bernhard.
Non sono cronache, queste, ma occhiali per l’imbecillità. Poggiati sul naso, per esempio al mattino, aprendo il quotidiano, o alla sera, poco prima del telegiornale, facilitano, per così dire, la messa a fuoco.

All’usuale ferocia martellante, Bernhard contrappone un linguaggio sobrio e puntuale, ambasciatore di atroci abissi. Brevi accenni a grotteschi destini, tracciati con la studiata superficialità rivelatrice di chi ha prima scavato con furore all’essenza d
Oziel Bispo
Nunca tinha lido Thomas Bernhard por isso não estou acostumado com seu estilo literário. Mas as pequenas histórias,reais ou imaginárias, 104 no total , só falam, a maioria, de mortes ,suicídios nas mais diversas situações .Lógico que há ironias, cinismos, sátiras , duplos sentidos mas realmente não gostei muito, vou ler mais livros dele para me familiarizar com seu estilo.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernhard en distancias cortas. Sucesión de relatos breves, a lo sumo una carilla. Algunos de una genialidad comparable a los cuentos cortos de Cortázar.
Güney Tombak
Sayfa israfı da denebilir ilginç bir fıkra kitabı da. İddialı bir kitap değil, zaten ulaşabileceği en fazla puan verdikleriyle 3, Fatih Balkış sever olarak Bernhard'ın bu eserine kendi üzerinden tam puan veriyorum denebilir.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining enough flash fiction. I just wasn't super into it.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these were more striking than others. But, a handful of bits & ends of interest:

PHOTO-STYLE FRAMING: Each story is contained within a single page. One cannot help but think that there is a request being made: Read as you would see or look at an image or photo. Survey the (document/)content(/"evidence"); supply any necessary extrapolation.

OPACITY: The Voice Imitator establishes an interesting relationship between looking and "character". While it's often the case that a given char
Aaron Aoyume
This is fantastic, weird little book. At face value, it seems just a compendium of bizarre short, 1-page anedoctes (too short to even qualify as a short story), about strange people with strange and frequently deathly habits. It is like a book collection of jokes, but killing jokes told by someone really insane, a permanent Arkham Asylum inmate, such as Joker or Harvey Dent...

The book is all about bizarre reactions to ordinary, day-to-day situations, and that's what makes it really interesting:
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book to bring along for waits since each is max a page long, oftentimes much shorter.

Some stellar stories in the beginning, but after a while they become a drag. Sentences are quite long and use "of which, for whom, etc." to connect long descriptors. Might be because it was originally written in German.

His use of "in the nature of things," was irking. Could have maybe should have stopped reading, but kept hoping for another gem. My favorite came early on, the 14th:

“An old lady wh
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Thomas Bernhard's most capable hands, the 104 stories that comprise "The Voice Imitator" are succinct, often mesmerizing, tales recounted from genuine newspaper headlines and articles. These tales are quite literally, prose haiku, miniature essays recounting foibles of artists, politicians, scientists, and others from all walks of life. They may also seem like brief outlines for some as yet unpublished great novel, but Bernhard has packed so much detail that readers will recognize these as st ...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.

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 about Thomas Bernhard...
“Hotel Waldhaus

We had no luck with the weather and the guests at our table were repellent in every respect. They even spoiled Nietzsche for us. Even after they had had a fatal car accident and had been laid out in the church in Sils, we still hated them.”
“Unfulfilled Wish

A woman in Atzbach was murdered by her husband because, in his opinion, she had carried the wrong child with her to safety from their burning house. She had not saved their eight-year old son, for whom the man had special plans, but had saved their daughter, who was not loved by the husband. When the husband was asked, in the District Court in Wels, what plans he had had for his son, who had been completely consumed by the fire, the husband replied that he had intended him to be an anarchist and a mass murderer of dictatorships and thus a destroyer of the state.”
More quotes…