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On The Mountain Thomas Bernhard

On The Mountain

Thomas Bernhard

Published 1991
ISBN : 9780704302068
143 pages
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 About the Book 

One day youre cut off, at the very start youre cut off and cant go back, the language you learn and the whole business of walking and all the rest is for the sake of the single thought, how to get back again,On the Mountain was published after Bernhards death in 1989: the last work he released was the earliest that he ever wrote, way back in 1958 and five years prior to the publication of his first novel,Frost. Consisting of 115 pages with a bevy of commas and a single, solitary period, On the Mountain is a disjointed and raw prose-poem, streaming flashes of the thoughts of the writer as he is trying to complete his maiden book. It contains the inaugural formation of Bernhards wonderful nihilistic rage and despair—suicide is always one quick-step-in-front-of-a-bus away—as well as the bleak humour, the repetition and fixation on select words- indeed, presents the first appearance of many of the obsessions that would prove mainstays throughout his body of work:all these many long, difficult years, have deceived me, have tricked me, are making fun of me, spitting on me, the way you fling some stinking scrap onto the dungheap, the cataloguing of the loners misdeeds, with absolute murderous intention, with absolute irresponsibility, reconstructing and subtracting and grafting and feeling no compunction, piling them up and rolling them together and turning them into some ridiculous object,There is no narrative structure as typically understood to the piece—the blinking blocks of different timeframes, places, interlocutors, tormentors and mistresses may be actual events that happened to the narrator, or they may be fragments of the tale he is striving to assemble, struggling to force out onto the page by focussing on one thought, one lone thought whilst avoiding the endless distractions of the next hundred in the queue that restlessly and relentlessly try to force their way in. Knowing that whatever he manages to write will be ridiculous and misunderstood, a pathetic shadow of the original, ineffable idea he was trying to express, he still plunges on with his painful task, perhaps taking some measure of solace from his one constant companion—his dog.I do love Bernhards work, his beautifully bilious way of depicting, in stark, slashing sentences, the barriers, tribulations, and cruel jokes that protean life seems to take a grim pleasure in placing before his characters in their endless attempts to wring beauty and truth out of the ugliness and falsehoods that make-up their source materials. On the Mountain doesnt quite measure up to the brilliance of his more mature output, but it is always interesting to go back to the beginning and see where it all started.its the abyss that keeps us all alive, only the abyss,