TEHRAN – “The Voice Imitator” by Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard is published in Persian by the major Iranian publishing house Now.
Nasser Ghiasi is the translator of the book, originally published in 1978.
The Austrian playwright, novelist and poet Thomas Bernhard (1931-89) is recognized as one of the major writers of our time. Both pessimistic and uplifting, Bernhard’s work depicts the corruption of the modern world, the dynamics of totalitarianism, and the play of reality and appearance.
In “The Voice Imitator”, Bernhard gives us one of his darkest and most comical works. A series of parable-like anecdotes – some taken from newspaper reports, some from conversation, some from hearsay – this satire is both subtle and acerbic.
What initially seem like quaint little stories inevitably expose the barrenness and insensitivity of modern life, not only in urban centers but everywhere.
Bernhard presents an ordinary world that plunges into absurdity and disaster. Politicians, professionals, tourists, civil servants, the usual victims of the misanthropy inspired by Bernhard, succumbed one after the other to madness, misadventure or suicide.
The shortest piece, entitled “Mail”, illustrates the anonymity and alienation that have become the norm in contemporary society: “For years after our mother’s death, the Post Office still delivered letters addressed to her . La Poste had not taken note of his death.
In his disarming, sometimes hilarious style, Bernhard packs a deadly punch into every anecdote. George Steiner linked Bernhard to “the great constellation of Kafka, Musil and Broch”, and John Updike compared him to Grass, Handke and Weiss.
“The Voice Imitator” reminds us that Thomas Bernhard remains the most caustic satirist of our time.
Photo: A combination photo shows Thomas Bernhard and the cover of the Persian edition of his book ‘The Voice Imitator’.