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A dozen years after the collapse of the Third Reich, four adolescents commit a gratuitously violent assault and robbery in a Viennese park. So begins Jelinek's ( The Piano Teacher ) brilliant new novel, an unrelenting and horrifying exploration of postwar Austria, where the sins of the fathers are visited upon a new generation too disaffected to understand the source of its inarticulate rage. Jelinek's prose is breathless and incisive as she paints psychological portraits of her characters in swift, sure brushstrokes. Among the group of young criminals in the park are Rainer Witkowski, a liar and a coward who fancies himself a poet, an intellectual and a leader of men, and his twin sister, Anna, who responds to rejection by losing her ability to speak. Their father, Otto, is a brutally sadistic, crippled ex-Nazi who takes pornographic pictures of his battered wife and whose sexual abilities are failing now that the aphrodisiac of Auschwitz is only a dim memory. He is unrepentant; history, he believes, has forgiven him. The son cites Sartre's proposition that history does not exist. But it does, and it repeats itself here in an explosion of sickeningly familiar violence.
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Books, Elfriede Jelinek

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ISBN-10:  1852421681
ISBN-13:  978-1852421687
Author:  Elfriede Jelinek
Publisher:  Serpent's Tail
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review by . May 06, 2013
Another literary dud from Austria's Elfriede Jelinek.
Published in 1980, Wonderful Wonderful Times is a novel whose title is a complete contradiction to anything of what the book is indicative of. Understood and accepted. For me, however, it was a confirming piece of drip-drab fiction that only reiterated my original assessment of her after reading the perennial fan favorite, The Piano Teacher, a butcher job of a novel if ever there was one. This novel could take second honors, however.      Set in the 1950s after WWII, Austria …
review by . November 17, 2010
Published in 1980, Wonderful Wonderful Times is a novel whose title is a complete contradiction to anything of what the book is indicative of. Understood and accepted. For me, however, it was a confirming piece of drip-drab fiction that only reiterated my original assessment of her after reading the perennial fan favorite, The Piano Teacher, a butcher job of a novel if ever there was one. This novel could take second honors, however.     Set in the 1950s after WWII, Austria is …
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