Wittgenstein's Nephew [Wittgensteins Neffe] (Vintage, no date)
by Thomas Bernhard [translated from the German by David McLintock]
"Of all medical practitioners, psychiatrists are the most incompetent, having a closer affinity to the sex killer than to their science" (Wittgenstein's Nephew, 8).
Thomas Bernhard: where have you been all my life, you morose bastard? An impressively sustained, mordantly observed 100-page monologue based on the author's real-life friendship with a relative of the famous philosopher, Wittgenstein's Nephew is yet another in a spate of works I've read of late where the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction are hopelessly blurred. I loved it. Taking on as his subject the equilateral triangle of a life-changing friendship, severe physical and mental illness, and two friends' awareness of their impending deaths, Bernhard somehow managed to have me laughing out loud at his frequent barbs at the same time as I found myself genuinely touched by the evocation of the friends' fragile and increasingly diseased relationship. Although Bernhard isn't particularly kind to many people in this novel, preferring the loaded gun of the biting remark to the dishonesty of being diplomatic when it's not deserved, he reminded me a bit of Robert Walser in his ability to bring troubled souls to the printed page with unpredictability, vividness, and what seemed like genuine honesty. A great--and even an exquisite--treat. (http://www.vintagebooks.com/)
Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989)