Gathering Evidence/My Prizes

Gathering Evidence/My Prizes

By Thomas Bernhard

Vintage Books, Paperback, 9781400077625, 408pp.

Publication Date: November 29, 2011


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 (1931-89) grew up in Salzburg and Vienna, where he studied music. In 1957 he began a second career as a playwright, poet, and novelist. He went on to win many of the most prestigious literary prizes of Europe (including the Austrian State Prize, the Bremen and Bruchner prizes, and Le Prix Seguier), became one of the most widely admired writers of his generation, and insisted at his death that none of his works be published in Austria for seventy years, a provision later repealed by his half-brother.

Praise For Gathering Evidence/My Prizes

“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