Gathering Evidence by Thomas Bernhard / ISBN 9781400077625 / 416-page paperback from Vintage
This book floored me.
“One of the most powerful autobiographies of the 20th century...Overwhelming in its impact.”--Los Angeles Times
Written with a dark pain and drama that recalls the novels of Dickens, Gathering Evidence is a powerful and compelling memoir of youth by one of the twentieth century’s most gifted writers.
Born in 1931, the illegitimate child of an abandoned mother, Thomas Bernhard was brought up by an eccentric grandmother and an adored grandfather in right-wing, Catholic Austria. He ran away from home at age fifteen. Three years later, he contracted pneumonia and was placed in a hospital ward for the old and terminally ill, where he observed first-hand—and with unflinching acuity—the cruel nature of protracted suffering and death. From the age of twenty-one, everything he wrote was shaped by the urgency of a dying man’s testament—and where this account of his life ends, his art begins.
Included in this edition is My Prizes, a collection of Bernhard’s viciously funny and revelatory essays on his later literary life. Here is a portrait of the artist as a prize-winner: laconic, sardonic, shaking his head with biting amusement at the world and at himself.