The Lime Works by Thomas Bernhard / ISBN 9781400077588 / 256-page paperback from Vintage
For five years, Konrad has imprisoned himself and his crippled wife in an abandoned lime works where he’s conducted odd auditory experiments and prepared to write his masterwork, The Sense of Hearing. As the story begins, he’s just blown the head off his wife with the Mannlicher carbine she kept strapped to her wheelchair. The murder and the bizarre life that led to it are the subject of a mass of hearsay related by an unnamed life-insurance salesman in a narrative as mazy, byzantine, and mysterious as the lime works—Konrad’s sanctuary and tomb.
“Bernhard’s prose is hypnotic, unstoppable, as rapid as thought itself. He makes you think, as all great writers do, that at any moment he can say anything.”—The Washington Post Book World
“A superior book . . . deeply thought and felt. . . . Bernhard is a writer of great originality and fascination.”—The New York Review of Books
Thomas Bernhard was born in Holland in 1931 and grew up in Austria. He studied music at the Akademie Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 1957 he began a second career, as a playwright, poet, and novelist. The winner of the three most distinguished and coveted literary prizes awarded in Germany, he has become one of the most widely translated and admired writers of his generation. He published nine novels, an autobiography, one volume of poetry, four collections of short stories, and six volumes of plays. Thomas Bernhard died in Austria in 1989.