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The Voice Imitator by Thomas Bernhard
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The Voice Imitator (edition 1998)

by Thomas Bernhard, Kenneth J. Northcott (Translator)

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259544,916 (3.68)3
Member:dbvisel
Title:The Voice Imitator
Authors:Thomas Bernhard
Other authors:Kenneth J. Northcott (Translator)
Info:University Of Chicago Press (1998), Paperback, 114 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:german, austrian, fiction, short stories

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The Voice Imitator by Thomas Bernhard

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Showing 5 of 5
I read one of these during a class -- maybe my microfiction class -- and thought I'd seek out the rest. Bernhard has a very clear, precise, hard-hitting style, for the most part. There are some verbal ticks, and some labyrinthine sentences, which may be due to his style or to the translator. They got in the way for me, particularly as the commas were not in natural places all the time.

The stories are very simple, little anecdotes, snippets from news stories real or imagined, a moment's thought crystallised... Some are better than others, which is bound to happen in a collection like this.

Must read more microfiction. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Very short stories, murderous and awkward -- but also weirdly compelling. Lots of madness, murder, and betrayal, but all of it conveyed through such a stilted delivery that none of it is particularly visceral. ( )
  bnewcomer | Apr 2, 2013 |
104 different short and shorter vignettes of 1 page in length or under. These pretty much run the gamut of Bernhardian obsessions with corruption, death (through suicide or murder or some kind of accidental calamity at times causing many deaths) and his distaste for all things Austrian. Sometimes morbidly fascinating the often very morose Austrian has a very sharp and dry satiric wit--and this despite the almost machine like precision of his prose. Even though these tales as often as not take surprising twists and turns there is always an almost inevitability to how they turn out in the end. A great book for a dark and rainy day. ( )
  lriley | Sep 16, 2006 |
My favorite book of short stories. I loaned a copy to a girlfriend and promptly had to buy myself another. ( )
  OmieWise | Jan 26, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0226044025, Paperback)

The work of late Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard was no one's idea of an uplifting read. Given to writing mostly dense, bleak, darkly comic, one-paragraph novels such as The Loser, Bernhard has rarely received the audience he deserves. The Voice Imitator, while unlikely to change this basic fact, does give us Bernhard's singularly pessimistic worldview in perhaps more digestible little chunks--some of them very little, indeed. (Here is the entirety of the short story "Mail": "For years after our mother's death, the Post Office still delivered letters that were addressed to her. The Post Office had taken no notice of her death.")

In fact, none of the 104 stories collected here are longer than a page--and with the tremendous variety of disaster and tragedy they contain (e.g., suicide, disappearance, murder, madness, corruption), there's not much room for characterization or plot. These read more like fragments, anecdotes, or snippets of news stories than conventional short narratives. Despite their brevity, however, these stories display all the signature elements of the Bernhardian oeuvre: cynicism, misanthropy, contempt for his native country, and withering scorn for the futility of all human effort. They might be an acquired taste--but one with undeniable force. With his black humor, deadly satire, and loathing for bureaucracy, Bernhard is the spiritual heir of writers such as Kafka, Grass, and Beckett--perhaps on a very bad day.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:51 -0400)

One hundred-and-four parables, none longer than a page.

(summary from another edition)

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