Written with a dark pain and drama that recalls the novels of Dickens, Gathering Evidence is a powerful and compelling memoir of youth by one of the twentieth century’s most gifted writers.
Born in 1931, the illegitimate child of an abandoned mother, Thomas Bernhard was brought up by an eccentric grandmother and an adored grandfather in right-wing, Catholic Austria. He ran away from home at age fifteen. Three years later, he contracted pneumonia and was placed in a hospital ward for the old and terminally ill, where he observed first-hand—and with unflinching acuity—the cruel nature of protracted suffering and death. From the age of twenty-one, everything he wrote was shaped by the urgency of a dying man’s testament—and where this account of his life ends, his art begins.
Included in this edition is My Prizes, a collection of Bernhard’s viciously funny and revelatory essays on his later literary life. Here is a portrait of the artist as a prize-winner: laconic, sardonic, shaking his head with biting amusement at the world and at himself.
About the Author
Thomas Bernhard was born in Holland in 1931 and grew up in Austria. He studied music at the Akademie Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 1957 he began a second career, as a playwright, poet, and novelist. The winner of the three most distinguished and coveted literary prizes awarded in Germany, he has become one of the most widely translated and admired writers of his generation. He published nine novels, an autobiography, one volume of poetry, four collections of short stories, and six volumes of plays. Thomas Bernhard died in Austria in 1989.
“Breathless, relentlessly compulsive. . . . A remarkable literary contribution.” —The New York Times Book Review
“One of the most powerful autobiographies of the 20th century. . . . Overwhelming in its impact.” —Los Angeles Times
“A searing and utterly extraordinary memoir. . . . Unflinching, resonant and simply important. . . . The book is magnificent in every sentence.” —Claire Messud, Newsday
“Vehement and fascinating. . . . Arguably his finest work.” —The Washington Post