AC at Slightly Bluestocking asks a good question.
Long sentences. Correction opens with a sentence that’s about two pages long. Most of the sentences (not all) are very long, and there are no paragraph breaks. You’d think this would be frustrating, but it actually works very well — pulls you on and on, and before you’ve realized it, several pages have gone by. . . .
On the other hand, a few months ago I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The Autumn of the Patriarch for English class. Likewise, Garcia Marquez uses extremely long sentences (much more so than Bernhard, at least thusfar). The longest goes on for about fifty pages. (Someone told me that there are something like 22 sentences in the entire 250 page book, which is probably an underestimate, but it gives you an idea of what it’s like). I found Autumn excruciating. There, the conceit felt forced, almost gimmicky.
So why the difference? Why does Correction strike me as beautiful, lucid, etc, while I couldn’t stand Autumn? I’m not sure, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that there’s no obvious ‘agenda’ with Bernhard. That could be why I found Autumn gimmicky, because the prose seemed merely functional.
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