by: Thomas Bernhard
The Cheap-Eaters by Thomas Bernhard / ISBN 9781943679133 / A small 102-page paperback (4.5 x 6.5 inches), just published by Spurl Editions
Translated by Douglas Robertson. The Cheap-Eaters have been eating at the Vienna Public Kitchen for years, and true to their name, always the cheapest meals. They become the focus of Koller's scientific attention when he deviates one day from his usual path through the park, leading him to come upon the cheap-eaters and to realize that they must be the focal piece of his years-long, unwritten study of physiognomy. The narrator, a former school friend of Koller's, tells of his relationship with Koller in a single unbroken paragraph that is both dizzying and absorbing. In Koller, the narrator observes a "gradually ever-growing and utterly exclusive interest in thought... We can get close to such a person, but if we come into contact with him we will be repelled." Written in Bernhard's hyperbolic, darkly comic style, The Cheap-Eaters is a study of the limits of language and thought.