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The Loser

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  4,597 Ratings  ·  399 Reviews
Thomas Bernhard was one of the most original writers of the twentieth century. His formal innovation ranks with Beckett and Kafka, his outrageously cantankerous voice recalls Dostoevsky, but his gift for lacerating, lyrical, provocative prose is incomparably his own.

One of Bernhard's most acclaimed novels, The Loser centers on a fictional relationship between piano virtuos
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Vintage (first published 1983)
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Pir wow, in high school! i'm 40 and reading it now. since you mention it in your post by name, you could read Old Masters, a great comedy. failing that,…morewow, in high school! i'm 40 and reading it now. since you mention it in your post by name, you could read Old Masters, a great comedy. failing that, look for Woodcutters or Correction. failing those, choose any other Bernhard novel, because if you like one you'll like them all. happy reading.(less)

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Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος   Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο   Αμούν Arnum
«Η από μακρού προσχεδιασμένη αυτοκτονία δεν είναι αυθόρμητη πράξη απόγνωσης».

Τόμας Μπέρνχαρντ, ο εμμονικός αναχωρητής. Ο κυνικός φυγάς προς την κάθοδο της αντίφασης και της αμφιβολίας.

Σημαία του η ματαιότητα. Σύντροφοι του,
η εκ πεποιθήσεως μοναχικότητα , ο θάνατος, η αυτοχειρία , η ακούσια εγκατάλειψη και η απογοήτευση.

Παρόλα αυτά,σε όλα του τα γραπτά νοήματα προεξάρχουσα θέση έχουν η αγάπη,η ανθρωπιά,η συμπόνοια και η φιλοσοφική καινοτομία που αρνείται να παραδεχτεί την αποτυχία.
Που κατακρί
Bill  Kerwin
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In most of his fictions—including this novella—the Austrian Thomas Bernhard insults everything Austrian. In fact, Bernhard declared in his will that every one of his literary works in perpetuity must not be printed or presented within the state of Austria, or within the geographical boundaries of the present state of Austria, whatever that area may in the future be called. Yet he never made an attempt to emigrate; he lived in Austria all his life.

Bernhard was a man of contradictions, and his wor
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well, here we are again in the land of obsessive compulsive disorder, suicidal rage and death panic. It's like Bernhard has one channel and one channel only: sturm und drang, but without the post-Enlightenment restraint. How did Richard Hugo put it: "hatred of the various grays / the mountain sends...." Bernhard's satirical narrators are against everything: especially mountains, in this case the Alps, nature, people, society, art, any and all institutions, the church, the state, you name it. No ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bernhard is amazing, and this book perfectly captures his obsession with obsession. His narrator is a music student who realizes he's a failure when he, Glenn Gould, and another pianist study together, and nobody can hold a candle to Gould, the supreme genius. It's told in Bernhard's inimitable style, as one long rambling looping paragraph that takes ideas and beholds them from several angles, all the while maintaining a relentless energy that just takes my breath away.
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews

A single paragraph. One breathless monologue. Genius. Failure. Perfection. Obsession. Friendship. Death.

The Genius, the Philosopher, the Loser.

The musical genius of Glenn Gould, the pinnacle of art, is what serves as the reference defining all three of their lives. Werthemier - the titular Loser - finds himself woefully dwarfed by the perfection of Gould as a piano artist. The frustration of recognizing his worthlessness and knowing that he will never be able to reach the top leads him to give
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
"everything is ridiculous if one thinks of death."

This is what Bernhard said as a part of his acceptance speech for the Austrian State Prize for Literature. So, Yeah! That’s the kind of man he was.

Along with many other writers, I discovered Bernhard through Goodreads only. The next step is usually checking out the author’s profile, from where I found the following description:

Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian author, who ranges among the most distinguished German speaking writers of the second h
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Grey – The color that most of the characters created during large part of twentieth century and whole of twenty-first century till date, are painted in. Cruelly banishing the evergreen Black and all-star White to secondary positions, Grey has risen in ranks to be the heroic hue of all ‘famous’ characters. The modern reader in me haughtily merges this contemporary thought into her conversations and discusses the ‘grey’ shades of the latest literary protagonist she has encountered. But the convent ...more
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended soundtrack for this review.

Of course Thomas Bernhard's The Loser covers some of the usual Bernhardian terrain -- misanthropy, madness, death, all the fun stuff really -- but failure is the real star of this show. The 'Loser' of the title, named Wertheimer, was unfortunate enough both to have been a gifted piano player and to have studied contemporaneously with piano legend Glenn Gould, whose life and genius -- albeit in a somewhat fictionalized form -- haunt Wertheimer until he is at
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“But of course the world consists only of absurd ideas.”

What a soul-piercing read... After I finished The Loser by Thomas Bernhard I thought: this is how you write a book! Or well, a long internal monologue that rambles on and on without any pauses. It’s simply amazing satire with a lot of absurdism, nihilism, and self-destructiveness narrated in one breath.

“All my tendencies are deadly ones, he once said to me, everything in me has a deadly tendency to it, it's in my genes, as Wertheimer said,
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Hansi Hinterseer
Recommended to Mariel by: Der Leiermann
"Again and again we picture ourselves sitting together with the people we feel drawn to all our lives, precisely these so-called simple people, whom naturally we imagine much differently from the way they truly are, for if we actually sit down with them we see that they aren't the way we've pictured them and that we absolutely don't belong with them, as we've talked ourselves into believing, and we get rejected at their table and in their midst as we logically should get after sitting down at t ...more
lo dico nel modo più rapido e indolore, e mi defilo prima che qualcuno abbia tempo di tagliarmi le gomme alla bici. per me sono tre stelle, e nemmeno un fotone di più.
perché va benissimo l’idea della stretta coerenza tra il racconto e la forma che prende: un romanzo in cui le variazioni goldberg hanno un ruolo da co-protagonista, scritto come una ossessiva variazione nei temi e nello stile. ma qui ci sono pagine e pagine con gli stessi concetti ripetuti allo sfinimento per due o tre proposizioni
May 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
Funnier and nastier and less full of shit than anything I've ever read. More laughs per ten pages than Sedaris etc, but with WAY MORE suicide! Awesome Austrian lit. Glenn Gould, the one true piano genius. One paragraph for 155 pages! Zero pretension. Few sentences extended over the course of the book in fugue state. Sort of like lame-ass literary fiction if you removed every standard literary convention (plot, dialogue, setting, scenes) and just freakin' mainlined the narrator's consciousness: I ...more
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-austria, e5
"O Glenn Gould, o nosso amigo e o mais importante virtuoso do piano do século, também só fez 51 anos, pensava eu ao entrar na estalagem.
Só que esse não se matou como o Werthermer mas morreu, como se costuma dizer, de morte natural."

Assim se inicia O Náufrago. E é tudo...

"Nós em teoria compreendemos as pessoas, mas na prática não as suportamos, pensei, na maior parte das vezes só a contragosto lidamos com elas, e tratamo-las sempre de acordo com o nosso próprio ponto de vista."

..."dizia ele, pe
MJ Nicholls
We all know hasbeens who never were, so are really hasn’tbeens. My first wife, Mary Quattro, played the spoons in the Intergalactic Pipe Cleaners, a polka and celtic disco band who kept audiences enthralled with their wild interpretations of traditionals in the style of Ottawan and other disco groovers. She was forever in the shadow of Niles Vee, a percussionist of rare merit, who was at home on maracas and spoons. This outrageous two-instrument skill was impossible for poor Mary to beat, so she ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I discovered that Bernhard had written a novel about Glenn Gould, I felt there is order in the universe... I have the same feeling whenever I listen to Bach...
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book should be hidden inside the dust jackets of all the self help books out there. You don't need help once you realize that helplessness is the basic condition that surrounds us. Helplessness of a genius to be that way and of the Loser to struggle against this helplessness.

Bernhard is amazing. And I think my suicide gets delayed, until I have finished reading all what he has written.

Lets understand suicide before committing to it.
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you are fond of classical music, you will probably like this novel. The world of musicians, their hopes and ambitions are skillfully depicted. I also liked the idea that the story is fictionalised about the great pianist Glen Gould's real story.
João Reis
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um livro soberbo de Thomas Bernhard, que, com o seu habitual estilo elíptico, incisivo e jocoso em forma de monólogo interno, narra a destruição de um pianista perante a incapacidade de atingir a genialidade artística.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ever wondered if you were a genius? Or desperately wanted to be one? I think that most people of a certain level of intelligence (or prowess at a given art/sport/etc.) have done both, but The Loser will make you think twice.

Plenty of novels have been written about genius from its own perspective; Ratner's Star and Infinite Jest are a couple of examples, though by no means the best ones. They ask what it's like to be a genius, what truly makes a genius tick. And in the cases of both those exampl
Chiara Pagliochini
«Voleva essere artista, a lui non bastava essere l’artista della propria vita, benché questo concetto racchiuda tutto ciò che può rendere felice qualsiasi persona lungimirante, pensai. Wertheimer insomma si era innamorato, o addirittura era rimasto ammaliato dal proprio fallimento, pensai, e in questo fallimento si era incaponito fino alla fine. In effetti potrei dire perfino che pur essendo certamente infelice nella sua infelicità, sarebbe stato ancora più infelice se dall’oggi al domani avesse ...more
Sep 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Bernhard certainly is an intense one. The Loser is a cerebral and methodical dissection of genius, perfectionism, obsession, and music- in short: Glenn Gould. The writing is schizophrenic and enraging at times; Bernhard was never content to tell an easy story in an easy manner, and in fact, he makes it about as difficult as possible for the reader, with frequent, feverish bouts of repetition, little character development, and ideas about everything that just seem to leap out and then vanish back ...more
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austria, già-letto

Noi siamo come siamo, non abbiamo altra scelta

Le Variazioni Goldberg sono tra i brani più noti composti da Johann Sebastian Bach. Originalmente scritte per clavicembalo, sono state trasposte per pianoforte negli anni cinquanta del secolo scorso, specialmente grazie al geniale pianista canadese Glenn Gould.

Queste variazioni sono costituite da un'Aria, seguita da 30 variazioni sull’armonia della stessa e un’Aria da capo, identica alla prima. La scrittura di queste variazioni è unica e prevede il r
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: whatthe-hell
I am writing this review whilst listening to Glenn Gould perform the Goldberg Variations here:

He is truly amazing, and if nothing else, ‘The loser’ led me to this virtuoso.
Bernhard never knew Glenn Gould, of course, but he zeroed in on him as the perfect instrument with which to ply his vitriolic satire directed at his fellow Austrian: the nation known for nurturing some of the greatest composers of all time is subjected to the waxilirical adulation of a
Vit Babenco
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loser is an irrational tale told by an irrational man about his irrational friend – a triumph of paranoia.
“The so-called intellectual consumes himself in what he considers pathbreaking work and in the end has only succeeded in making himself ridiculous, whether he’s called Schopenhauer or Nietzsche, it doesn’t matter, even if he was Kleist or Voltaire we still see a pitiful being who has misused his head and finally driven himself into nonsense. Who’s been rolled over and passed over by history.
Νίκος Μ
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Τρείς φίλοι παίζουν μαζί πιάνο στον κορυφαίο πιανίστα της χώρας τους,έχουν στόχο να του μοιάσουν κι αν μπορούν να τον ξεπεράσουν.Ένας απ'αυτούς διαθέτει περισσότερο ταλέντο απ'τους άλλους δύο και προχωράει πιό μπροστά.Οι άλλοι όπως είναι φυσικό καταλαβαίνουν ότι δεν θα μπορέσουν ποτέ να τον φτάσουν και τίποτα δεν θα μείνει όπως πρίν.Μοναδικό το προτείνω σε όλους
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le variazioni Bernhard

Lo lessi e contemporaneamente lo ascoltai attraverso l'ottima lettura di Elia Schilton per Ad alta voce. Fu una bella esperienza, pensai: seguire le parole scritte e ascoltarle contemporaneamente contribuì a mantenere la concentrazione su un libro complesso, diede ritmo e musicalità al testo - cosa non trascurabile visto il tema del romanzo, pensai - mise in rilievo le particolarità stilistiche della scrittura, fece cogliere con maggior nettezza quelle figure retoriche (ana

At one point I was reading this at the bar in a diner at, like, a little past midnight and this foreign-sounding guy came up to me and said "You're reading that?...Zee fevvorite..."! and kissed the tips of his fingers like you do.

I already wrote some of my feelings about Mr. Bernhard in my review of his "Wittgenstein's Nephew" so I'll just post some Glenn Gould vids in lieu of another blathering review...

Goldberg variations:

Beethoven: http:/
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2014
Un vortice di tetraggine e cupezza e dimostrazione di che cosa vuol dire incentrare la propria storia su un soccombente, uno di quelli che "falliti" lo sono per davvero e proprio perché tali, non riusciranno mai a uscirne. Glenn Gould è il genio tra i tre virtuosi, anzi, ma che fra i tre, il campo di confronto lo vede vincitore su una fascia estremamente più larga. Ciò però fa male per chi, purtroppo, genio non è: uno può anche reagire in modo dignitoso, come il narratore senza nome: abbandonare ...more
Francisco H. González
De la misma manera que hay autores que tratan de ganarse al lector, otros como Thomas Bernhard parece que hacen lo imposible por crear un muro de palabras que hagan imposible la empatía con los personajes que aparecen en la novela.

"Tu nacimiento fue un error repáralo", se decía en la novela de Juan Goytisolo Señas de identidad. En esa reparación se mueven los personajes de la novela: Glenn, Wertheimer y el narrador. Y la reparación pasa por el suicidio del primero. Un suicida que siempre vivirá
Jun 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: foreigners, fiction
Very interesting indeed. I wonder about the mental differences between those who reviewed this book very favorably and those who did not. What state or states of mind distinguishes those attracted to Bernhard's prose and those turned off by it? However good it may be in essence, I myself could not slog all the way through this work. I found it a wild and impossible self-indulgence on the part of the author. An unfeeling imposition on his readers. Which of course is entirely possible, though in m ...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...
“In theory we understand people, but in practice we can't put up with them, I thought, deal with them for the most part reluctantly and always treat them from our point of view. We should observe and treat people not from our point of view but from all angles, I thought, associate with them in such a way that we can say we associate with them so to speak in a completely unbiased way, which however isn't possible, since we actually are always biased against everybody.” 41 likes
“Again and again we picture ourselves sitting together with the people we feel drawn to all our lives, precisely these so-called simple people, whom naturally we imagine much differently from the way they truly are, for if we actually sit down with them we see that they aren't the way we've pictured them and that we absolutely don't belong with them, as we've talked ourselves into believing, and we get rejected at their table and in their midst as we logically should get after sitting down at their table and believing we belonged with them or we could sit with them for even the shortest time without being punished, which is the biggest mistake, I thought. All our lives we yearn to be with these people and want to reach out to them and when we realize what we feel for them are rejected by them and indeed in the most brutal fashion.” 15 likes
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