THE LIME WORKS by Thomas Bernhard


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Yet another one of the young German writer's Gargoyles (1970) narrowing in on Konrad, a mono-megalomaniac who had purchased a long idle lime works and more recently has shot his crippled wife -- variant verisons thereof do not alter the reality. The lime works, a ""place of eclipse,"" is of course the central fact and concurrent symbol -- lime rusts and rots everything in sight. Even Konrad, who, in spite of his expanded powers of perception, has not been able to set down his multidisciplinary (""medico-musico-metaphysical-mathematical"") work in progress which has been orbiting in his sick head for twenty years or more. There are a few interlinear comments on the outside world, but for the most part this is exclusively an enlargement of a brilliant mind in a hollow man who is unendurably alone. The novel can scarcely rise above Konrad -- it is singular and to a degree sterile -- and although Bernhard has invited comparisons with Kafka and Beckett, there is not enough inferential or speculative extension to justify it.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1973
ISBN: 1400077583
Publisher: Knopf