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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Correction (1975) by Thomas Bernhard

Haus Wittgenstein, the real life inspiration for the house in Correction.
Book Review
Correction (1975)
 by Thomas Bernhard

    Austrian author Thomas Bernhard placed seven books on the first edition of the 1001 Books list.   Correction, published in German in 1975 and in English translation four years later, is the first of those seven books.  Correction takes place in the aftermath of the suicide of its protagonist, Roithamer, after he has completed an expensive conical house which he designed for his sister, who dies out of mix of shock and shame when she sees the completed house for the first time.  After her funeral, he kills himself.  The narrator is a friend from his home village, who is tasked with Roithamer's voluminous writings about his family and obsession over building a conical house for his sister.

   The obvious points of comparison are Beckett- the entire 270 page book takes the form of TWO 135 page paragraphs.  Roithamer and the story of the conical house is loosely based on the real story of Ludwig Wittgenstein and his Haus Wittgenstein, built for his sister.   Roithamer bears other resemblances to the real life Wittgenstein, particularly his wealthy background and studies in England.

   The paragraph-less format means Correction is a book that requires concentration.  Actually putting it down is difficult, because there is no natural break, with the exception of the break between the two paragraphs. 

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