by Thomas Bernhard - £9.99 Penguin Books Ltd (Penguin Classics) (2010)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780141192710 | ISBN 10: 0141192712
Old Masters (1985) is Thomas Bernhard's devilishly funny story about the friendship between two old men.
For over thirty years Reger, a music critic, has sat on the same bench in front of a Tintoretto painting in a Viennese museum, thinking and railing against contemporary society, his fellow men, artists, the weather, even the state of public lavatories. His friend Atzbacher has been summoned to meet him, and through his eyes we learn more about Reger - the tragic death of his wife, his thoughts of suicide and, eventually, the true purpose of their appointment.
At once pessimistic and exuberant, rancorous and hilarious, Old Masters is a richly satirical portrait of culture, genius, nationhood, class, the value of art and the pretensions of humanity.
(Price & availability last checked: December 2018)