Author(s): Thomas Bernhard
'When indefatigable obsession looms large as it does in Thomas Bernhard (and his revered precursor Kafka) the result for the reader is a strange exhilaration and the thrall at being admitted into the mind of a maddened, magical genius.' - Edna O'Brien
Mid-century Austria. Three aspiring concert pianists - Wertheimer, Glenn Gould, and the narrator - have dedicated their lives to achieving the status of a virtuoso. But one day, two of them overhear Gould playing Bach's Goldberg Variations, and his incomparable genius instantly destroys them both.
They are forced to abandon their musical ambitions: Wertheimer, over a tortured process of disintegration that sees him becoming obsessed with both writing and his own sister, with whom he has a quasi-incestuous relationship culminating in death; and the narrator, instantly, retreating into obscurity to write a book that he periodically destroys and restarts.
Written as a monologue in one remarkable unbroken paragraph, Bernhard's dazzling meditation on failure, genius, and fame is a radical new reading experience: musical, paralysing, raging, and inimitable.