If you love classical music, or even if you don't but you love great novels, you should read Thomas Bernhard's The Loser: it's, among other things, the story of a piano student who happens to work alongside another student -- Glenn Gould (talk about keeping up one's self-confidence).
It's a major work that has enjoyed very minor exposure in the English-speaking world until now: What the public at large has denied Bernhard -- novelist, poet, playwright and essayist, who died exactly twenty years ago today and whose work is still so relevant -- classical music lovers should try to give back, at least in part.
Bernhard is an old master, a merciless mind and a steadfast critic of his country, Austria, who was promptly accused, in life, of being a "Nestbeschmutzer", someone who likes to soil his own nest. There's so much to remember him by: the astonishing beauty of his language, his honorable commitment to tell uncomfortable truths, his unrelenting bleak view of human nature. But today it's good to quote something that has been written about him and needs to be repeated: that he was morally committed as a writer to always look under the surface, no matter how ugly -- or self-defeating -- that would be.
Thomas Bernhard is Opera Chic's literary samurai.