Great article on Nobel Prize winner Jelinek
From the LA Times on Elfriede Jelinek by J.S. Marcus, author of "The Captain's Fire:"
'To the surprise of her fellow German speakers and to the creeping indifference, or hostility, of nearly everyone else, Elfriede Jelinek, Austria's third best-known contemporary writer, was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for Literature. The choice of Jelinek — a harsh, prolific, undeniably gifted, scarcely bearable virtuoso — is beyond controversial. The work is difficult, violent and hopeless. And Jelinek herself is difficult: reclusive, or just evasive and — not unlike one of her masters, Sylvia Plath — entirely unrepentant. "Her work is brutal," Elizabeth Hardwick once wrote of Plath, "like the smash of a fist." And so it is with Jelinek. In her novels, plays, radio plays, poems, essays, polemical writings and interviews, she has depicted a world whose inhabitants are no longer capable of moral action. They suffer and they cause suffering in others, and that's about it. "I can't describe anything positive," she said in a recent interview.'
I haven't read anything of hers but saw the movie "The Piano Teacher," based on one of her novels, and it was amazing: sexually screwed-up piano teacher, who sleeps in same bed with her Mom, has screwed-up affair with pupil. In a memorable scene, she throws up after giving him a blowjob. His reaction is priceless.
What is it about Austria and its writers? Like Jelinek, the novelist Thomas Bernhard had nothing good to say about his homeland, and banned his own books from being published there.