Ben Marcus, author of The Age of Wire and String, reviews Thomas Bernhard's newly translated Frost in the November issue of American magazine Harper's. Sadly, the review is not online, but Matthew Cheney, over at The Mumpsimus, has picked out a nice quote from Marcus's piece for us:
Bernhard's language strained the limits of rhetorical negativity: if his prose were any more anguished, it would simply transmit as moaning and wailing. Building interest in the grief experienced by people who look at the world and find it unbearable was a dark art of Bernhard's, and his characters do not resist the long walk to death's door but run to it and claw at the surface, begging for entry. After all, says Strauch, the agonized painter in Bernhard's first novel, Frost, "there is an obligation towards the depth of one's own inner abyss," even if meeting that obligation destroys you.