The Loser (translated from Der Untegeher, 1983)
by Thomas Bernhard
A fictional biography of the late, great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, originally written in German by the late, great Austrian novelist. Gould serves as a litmus test with which Bernhard’s protagonists may gauge their own and others’ attitudes toward art and life. Those who claim Gould as one of their own are uncompromising monomaniacs; they dismiss others who fail to appreciate Gould as being intellectually inadequate. The essentially paragraph-less, unrelenting narrative bears aspects of counterpoint and fugues in the works admired by the real-life Gould and, by extension, Bernhard. Despite so much doom and gloom expressed in this tale of three friendships, the reader may occasionally smile or even laugh out loud at unanticipated moments of humanity and comedy.
– Mike Olson, Dean of Libraries