MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: The Loser by Thomas Bernhard & “The Loser” by Gay Talese

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Last Mudd Up Book Clubb, the Naked Singularity meetup, was a great one, as Sergio De La Pava and his wife made a gracious appearance. Sergio was a passionate, funny, and generous guest, sharing insights which made our experience of his excellent novel even better. There was discussion of moral concern, conservatism of the publishing industry, drunk Russians wrestling bears and the plight of the farmers, what trials really read like and lots more, including Lee Ann’s homemade cardamom & pistachio bread. Delicious.

And now, as Endless Winter reluctantly starts to consider Spring — and now that I’ve got my personal piano month out of the way– we turn to our favorite hilarity-inducing Austrian misanthrope, rhythm master, one-paragraph-book-writer par excellence and italicist of exquisite conviction: Thomas Bernhard!
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shirtless Thomas Bernhard, our favorite Austrian misantrope hilarity man

On Sunday June 2, we’re meeting in Manhattan to discuss a splendid pair of losers — Thomas Bernhard’s 1983 novel The Loser, about Glenn Gould and two failed virtuoso pianists, and Gay Talese’s 1964 Esquire essay “The Loser”, about boxer Floyd Patterson. Talese published 37 articles on Patterson — THIRTY SEVEN! — which makes him arguably as obsessive as Bernhard’s unnamed narrator.

This inspired pairing comes courtesy of clubber Brad. The Talese is collected in his Silent Season of a Hero (along with 7 other Floyd Patterson pieces). If you’d like to join the Mudd Up Book Clubb, you can sign-up – please read the fine print there, especially since we’re near/beyond capacity, OK? OK.

& remember: be the Steinway, not the person playing the Steinway

Thomas Bernhard - The Loser "be the Steinway"

& here’s the Mudd Up Book Clubb reading list in reverse chronological order:

Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity

Shelley Jackson, “A Report on Certain Curious Objects, Believed to Be Words in an Unknown Language of the Dead”

Rita Indiana Hernandez, Papi

G. Willow Wilson, Alif, The Unseen

Michal Ajvaz, The Other City

Carmen Laforet, Nada

Patrik Ouředník, Europeana

Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber

Michael Taussig, My Cocaine Museum

Tatyana Tolystaya, The Slynx

Augusto Moterroso, Mister Taylor

Vladimir Sorokin, Ice Trilogy

Lauren Beukes, Zoo City

Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

Juan Goytisolo, Exiled from Everywhere

Cesar Aira, How I Became a Nun

Maureen F. McHugh, Nekropolis


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