Suffice to say that as any work by the great Austrian writer, this is a complex, accomplished work of art. It is, however, much lighter. It?s like small doses of Bernhard, like Bernhard sampling his own work, writing a pastiche of different aspects of it. Meine Preise
is a funny book, a very quick read, with none of Bernhard?s idiosyncratic difficulties in evidence. He makes use of typical aspects of his style to create great comic moments, shining a bright light on his other books, and upon his role as jokester and trickster that he plays even in his very serious books. In dazzling plays like Die Macht der Gewohnheit
, he showed how much darkness, brutality and obsessiveness can be part of a truly comical work. In this book, he does the opposite. Revisiting the idea of writing about his life, he calls up serious and important topics, yet offers them to us in an infinitely lighter mood. Also, in many places, the writing lacks the concision and precision that distinguishes his best work. So, no, this isn?t a major new work by Thomas Bernhard. It is a great introduction to his work though, and a thoroughly enjoyable romp, as well. If you like Bernhard, you cannot not read it, and if you?re thinking of starting on Bernhard, this is the book to pick up. In connection with his five older autobiographical books, a fuller picture of Bernhard the writer emerges, of the exigencies and pressures and delights that made him who he was.