[bc:The Piano Teacher|764953|The Piano Teacher|Elfriede Jelinek|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327932142s/764953.jpg|2179325] This is a book that depends on the inner life of the characters and the terrible dynamic between them to drive the story, and the writer’s language to sustain that hurtling energy. For all its very voyeuristic aspects, I don’t quite get how it could succeed as a movie. And I won’t find out because I think it would be awful to watch, despite how much I admire this book, and despite how fetching Isabelle Huppert looks on the cover of my copy.
I read [bc:Wonderful, Wonderful Times|301834|Wonderful, Wonderful Times|Elfriede Jelinek|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328705084s/301834.jpg|292898] a year ago and it was similar in its deep bleakness. The writing was also excellent but I didn’t like it half as much as The PianoTeacher, mostly because I managed to feel a cake crumb of sympathy and understanding for the twisted main character in the latter, Erica Kohut. The characters in WWT seemed too remote.
Until I had finished I didn’t realize that The Piano Teacher was semi-autobiographical. Elfriede Jelinek lived alone with her mother, her father died in an asylum, she graduated from the Vienna school of music, and obviously has as much trouble navigating the manifest world as Erica Kohut, Jelinek having been unable to leave her apartment to collect the Nobel Prize for Literature because of a generous anxiety level.
This book is not for the weak-stomached or those who like their books uplifting. Nothing uplifting in here! Just the way I like it.