Two new books before Thomas Bernhard’s 90th birthday


    <div class="td-post-featured-image"><figure><img width="696" height="1105" class="entry-thumb" src="" srcset=" 696w, 189w, 645w, 768w, 968w, 1068w, 265w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 696px) 100vw, 696px" alt="" title="Zwei neue Bücher vor Thomas Bernhards 90. Geburtstag"/><figcaption class="wp-caption-text copyright">© APA / Suhrkamp Verlag</figcaption></figure></div>
    <!-- Entweder gibt es keine banner, oder die banner sind deaktiviert oder hier nicht entsprechend eingestellt! --><p>February 9th marks the 90th birthday of the poet Thomas Bernhard, who died in 1989.  To mark this occasion, two very different publications will appear on Monday at Suhrkamp Verlag: Bernhard's half-brother and estate administrator Peter Fabjan recalls “A life by Thomas Bernhard's side” in a dry “report”, the Viennese illustrator Nicolas Mahler puts it “<a href=""><img class="alignnone size-medium" src="" alt="©" width="400" height="20" /></a><p>&nbsp;The&nbsp; incorrect biography “Thomas Bernhards in 99 pictures.

Anyone who expects intimate reflections, even revelations, on the life of the author, who was often harsh and dismissive in public, has come to the wrong address with Fabjan. Fabjan had known Thomas Bernhard for a long time and almost no one else, but real closeness evidently only emerged as an exception: “My brother Thomas’ path was a single effort to free himself from the cramped family ties and to live as an artist fight for it ”, he begins his preliminary remark – and lets follow a book in which he tries meticulously to trace precisely these family ties. With its sober, matter-of-fact style, the book often looks more like a first-hand collection of material than a close-up experience report.

Only sometimes does Fabjan reveal the difficulties in the relationship, in which one had to reckon with spontaneous and violent defenses at all times.

 The  doctor diagnoses an “inner numbness when it comes to feeling one’s own existence”, which can be explained by fear of abandonment in early childhood. “Very rarely did anyone get close to his innermost core,” he writes. “My life was a life with a phantom, yes a demon at my side.” Such confessions remain the exception in his book.

Many family photos accompany the subsequent description of individual family members, from the common mother and their dominant father, the misunderstood writer Johannes Freumbichler, who became a key figure in the development of his grandson Thomas, to the biological father Alois Zuckerstätter and father Emil Fabjan, other uncles and aunts up to the “unexpected relatives”, a half-sister Thomas’, who, tracked down in the GDR by a retired French Germanist, reported after Bernhard’s death to “clarify any inheritance claims”.

This is followed by memories of growing up with his half-brother, who is seven years older than him, in Traunstein, of studying medicine and the subsequent successful career as an internist, as well as a characterization of “people who were important to Thomas Bernhard and whom I met with him”, although he made no secret of it makes, in whose society mostly to have felt as an outsider – and also to have been treated as such. He comes close to the unapproachable again in the chapter “Brother and Patient”, in which medical and brotherly assistance go hand in hand. ©

 The  end comes quickly after all: “All you have to do is let go to let your life end within a day and a night.”

“Thomas Bernhard was born on February 9, 1931 in Heerlen (Netherlands). ©

 The  afterbirth has the shape of Austria. ”With this – and with a corresponding drawing – Nicolas Mahler begins his“ incorrect biography ”of Thomas Bernhard. More than 100 pages later one reads, of course: “©

 The  shape of the afterbirth is not handed down.” Because Mahler meticulously listed not only “sources” but also “sources of error” – here with the editorial care of the meticulous Fabjan about nothing below – and does away with it ©

 The re also one that the wing chair often attributed to his main character as an attribute probably did not play such a big role in his life (“Lampersberg: ‘In the wing chair, he only sat once.”) and that it was probably in Bernhard’s Ohlsdorfer Vierkanthof but no “instruments of torture and creaking secret doors” were given. One will probably still be allowed to fool a little if the course of history demands it!

Otherwise, the master of minimalism, who had already adapted “Old Masters” and “Der Weltverbesserer” to graphic novels, succeeded again in an inimitable way in compressing the material stupendously without missing anything. Bernhard’s idiosyncratic lifestyle, his philosophy and self-styling, his work and his illness – everything is outlined in a few pictures and a number of very well-chosen quotes.

Many of the famous photos of Thomas Bernhard, at the side of Hedwig Stavianicek in front of one of his houses, of Claus Peymann during the final applause of “Heldenplatz” or while sitting on a bench at the Graben, can be recognized in Mahler’s drawings, and his nose is also unmistakable . In one of the pictures she hovers over Vienna and its residents as part of a gloomy Thomas Bernhard cloud in a mixture of ridicule and threat. A fitting picture for the coming 90th birthday, 31 years after his death. By the way, under the picture there is a quote: “©

 The  Austrians are liab and stay stupid.”

(SERVICE – Peter Fabjan: “A life by the side of Thomas Bernhard – A report”, Suhrkamp Verlag, 196 pages, 24.70 euros, ISBN 978-3-518-42947-1; Nicolas Mahler: “Thomas Bernhard. ©

 The  incorrect biography “, Suhrkamp Taschenbuch 5125, 126 pages, 16.50 euros, ISBN: 978-3-518-47125-8, both books will be published on January 18th)

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