Early one morning a doctor sets out with his son on his daily rounds through the forbidding mountainous countryside. Their visits, a succession of ... Show synopsis Early one morning a doctor sets out with his son on his daily rounds through the forbidding mountainous countryside. Their visits, a succession of grotesque portraits--a diabetic industrialist living in incestuous isolation with his half-sister; three brothers, occupying a mill set in a deep gorge, who have just strangled a bevy of exotic birds; a crippled musical prodigy whose sister locks him in a cage--lead them to a castle and a paranoid prince, whose "almost uninterrupted monologue for a hundred pages is a virtuoso verbal performance . . . [in] an extraordinary, somber first novel."--A.C. Foote, "Book World" "What he shares with the best of [writers such as Sartre, Camus, Mann, and Kafka] is the ability to extract more than utter gloom from his landscape of inconceivable devastation. While the external surface of life is unquestionably grim, he somehow suggests more--the mystic element in experience that calls for symbolic interpretation; the inner significance of states that are akin to surrealistic dream-worlds; man's yearning for health, compassion, sanity."--Robert Maurer, "The Saturday Review" "The feeling grows that Thomas Bernhard is now the most original, concentrated novelist writing in German. His connections . . . with the great constellation of Kafka, Musil, and Broch become ever clearer."--George Steiner, "Times Literary Supplement"