Saturday, June 18, 2005

Neufundland: on two novels with the same title

Note the two Bs. Rebbecca Ray has just published Newfoundland, a novel of 1000 pages. She is 25 and it took her seven years to write. Tanya Gold read it in one sitting (and in the report at least doubles the amount of novels published by Proust).

I was drawn to read about the new novel because of its title ("obviously a metaphor"). When he died, Thomas Bernhard left an apparently uncompleted manuscript for a novel entitled (in German) Neufundland (the place and a metaphor). It consists of the first sentence on one page - about two people, one of whom is a doctor, going up to a house on a mountain, and the final sentence (in translation) on the second page: … and died at the age of fifty-nine in Newfoundland.

Bernhard died aged 58 in Gmunden, Austria. His half-brother was a doctor.

I’ve often thought: wouldn’t it be great to write that novel; to write over the space written by death.

But no, I think. Write nothing. Write less than nothing.

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