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Wonderful, Wonderful Times (1980)

by Elfriede Jelinek

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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346453,266 (3.88)5
That's brutal violence on a defenceless person, and quite unnecessary, declares Sophie, and she pulls with an audible tearing sound at the hair of the man lying in an untidy heap on the ground. What's unnecessary is best of all, says Rainer, who wants to go on fighting. We ageed on that.' It is the late 1950s. A man is out walking in a park in Vienna. He will be beaten up by four teenagers, not for his money, he has an average amount ? nor for anything he might have done to them, but because the youths are arrogant and very pleased with themselves. Their arrogance is their way of reacting to the maggot?ridden corpse that is Austria where everyone has a closet to hide their Nazi histories, their sexual perversions and their hatred of the foreigner. Elfriede Jelinek, who writes like an angel of all that is tawdry, shows in Wonderful, Wonderful Times how actions of the present are determined by thoughts of the past.… (more)
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» See also 5 mentions

English (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (4)
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http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/104918950353/wonderful-wonderful-times-by-elfriede...

It is not surprising that Elfriede Jelinek religiously maintains her exact same tone throughout this fine and caustic work. Covered by molasses would be a fair analogy to the feeling I get as she expresses her cynicism, irony, and sarcasm in her clever use of dialogue and action. She is extremely facetious in all her chronological accountings. Even if most of her words somehow avoid a physical eruption in my body they still live as a drip inside my head. And because of her chosen words and depictions this book then proves to be one of the most violent books I have ever put my eyes to. Cormac McCarthy’s Judge in [b:Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West|394535|Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West|Cormac McCarthy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1335231647s/394535.jpg|1065465] has absolutely nothing over Jelinek the Writer. She is most brutal in her presentation and reasoning. Her justifications on the page are brutally honest attempts to seek the truth behind all behaviors. Sadly, for me, there are few instances, if any, when this book actually becomes a joy to read. It remains always difficult, and Jelinek seems to be challenging the reader to get beyond the typical desire to be suspended from reality and occasionally transported out of one’s life. She instead duly rams her diseased and harsh palpability into the face of every hungry reader looking for a better escape. Elfriede Jelinek is a force to be reckoned with. She is waiting. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
Elfriede Jelinek was born in Austria and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2004.

It took me quite a few pages to understand and adapt to her writing style but once I did this book became an interesting but uncomfortable read. A decade and a half after WW2 and ex-Nazis and concentration camp survivors are left in the past with their terrible secrets while their children roam the streets of Vienna carving out a new and oft times more brutal society.

This book reminded me of The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea minus the sailor. Kids can be real bad, and I don’t mean not eating their vegetables bad.

A couple of lines that particularly stuck in my head:

“Because everday life more often tends to destroy sensitivities than create them.”

“Anna hits her forehead with her fist, but nothing comes out and nothing goes in either.”

I’ve noticed that too. Even when I bang my head on my desk my thoughts stay imprisoned; neither being receptive or giving…

I'll probably give this author a bit more attention. This book was crafted differently. The viewpoint roamed from one character to the next. Dialog was written without quotations or breaks in lines and who said what was indicated by name in parentheses. Reading the book, I felt like a little spirit flitting through the thoughts and actions of each character. This technique put me on the street with the players; I was part of their group. But getting that close to the characters was a bit uncomfortable... they were not likeable at all.
( )
1 vote Banoo | Mar 30, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elfriede Jelinekprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hengel, Ria vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hulse, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jílková, JitkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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En natt i slutet på femtiotalet äger ett rånöverfall rum i Wiener Stadtpark.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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from the cover: It is the late 1950s. A man is out walking in a park in Vienna. He will be beaten by four teenagers, not for his money or anything he may have done to them, but because the youths are arrogant and very pleased with themselves. This arrogance is their way of reacting to the decaying corpse that is Austria, where everyone has a closet in which to hide their Nazi histories, their sexual perversions, and their hatred of the foreigner.

In fierce, exhilarating prose, Elfriede Jelinek shows in Wonderful, Wonderful Times how the present is corrupted by the crimes of the past.
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