A RSB reader writes asking:

I would really like to get the best versions of Thomas Bernhard's work. I have not read him before, so (1) could you recommend the books (ie translation etc.), and (2) the order that I should read them in!"

So (as they say) I decided to ask an expert and consult Steve: who advises:

There are no versions to worry about. Only one novel has two translations (Cutting Timber/Woodcutters). Order ... well, chronologically is the easist, though reverse order would probably give the better impression: Gargoyles, The Lime Works, Correction, Yes, Concrete, Gathering Evidence (not a novel, but ...), Old Masters, The Loser, Cutting Timber, Extinction. I've left out one or two minor works but Three Novellas is great. See also

Worth noting that Gargoyles and The Loser are being re-issued this November and next July respectively (by Vintage USA) and remembering, too, that Michael Hofmann's new translation of Bernhard's Frost is due from Knopf in October.

Readers Comments

  1. Michael Richards Friday 01 September 2006

    Could I also mention that if your reader finds Bernhard of interest, he might want to invest in our "A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard" edited by Matthias Konzett (Camden House 2002), or is this too crassly commercial a plug?

  2. Not too crass at all Michael. Thanks for this. Indeed, Konzett's "A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard" (1571132163) is a very fine volume. I'll review it here soon.

  3. Mark, I want to say that I find your blog so very satisfying. This is the latest of your postings that make me appreciative. The side bar book recommendations, poem of the week, word of the day; the international literary perspective. I've flagged, and bought and read, several books that even I, a haunter of bookstores, know about. So thanks.

  4. Thanks Rev. That's really kind of you to say. And I'm very glad that I've managed bring some new and satisfying books to your attention and thrilled to know that the site works so well for you ...

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