Reality Check: My Prizes by Thomas Bernhard

on Thursday, December 30, 2010
Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write. Thomas Bernhard, he of the impenetrable yet addictive literary sludge was actually a really funny guy. Laugh out loud, double over, try to catch your breath funny. Not that you would have known it from his novels. Dreary, depressing, sure. But not funny. Turns out it was all a ruse. In this short collection of reflections, Bernhard tells us what he really thought of the various prizes he won. Needless to say, he doesn't hold back and I suspect that pretty much every institution that saw fit to give him an award later came to regret it. Some might brand Bernhard a sore winner, but for me it was refreshing to see a person whose misanthropy could transcend his ego.

There are those, I suppose, who collect accolades
Though others prefer that they went to their graves
Integrity shining not once selling out
Here Bernhard makes quite clear what he was about
Dark and obsessive in print, when loquacious
He's spiteful, sardonic and wholly ungracious!

And yes, i realise I was supposed to read the new Chinua Achebe book for this challenge, but after the great disappointment of the Gunter Grass I felt it was okay to cheat a little and do the old bait and switch. Yet again Bernhard saves the day!


Post a Comment