Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tim Parks on Thomas Bernhard

Tim Parks has written another fine essay in The New York Review of Books, this time on Thomas Bernhard: "The Genius of Bad News," in the January 11, 2007 issue. The article is not on-line.

Parks's wonderful summary of Bernhard's style could also apply to Parks's own work since Europa (1997), especially Destiny (1999): Parks describes "Bernhard's own tendency to introduce us in medias res to a mind in turmoil where events past and present, real or apocryphal, flash by in rapid succession without apparent order or hierarchy, where the voice speaking is so much aware of its own performance as to raise doubts about its candor."

I recommend both these writers highly, but with the caveat that, since Destiny (especially in Rapids, published in 2005), Parks has taken Bernhard's style further by incorporating the mental turmoil described above into narratives that have a clearer, crisper storyline than Bernhard's narratives usually do.

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