In 1972 the estate agent Karl Ignaz Hennetmair, a friend and neighbour of Thomas Bernhard, decided to keep a diary of the events and conversations involving Bernhard that year, creating a document of incalculable value to Thomas Bernhard fans. His enemies would have found much to enjoy too, as the manuscript sometimes shows the master in a dark light – but where are the Bernhard detractors today?
Thomas Bernhard had understandable difficulties with the outside world; initially it took no notice of him, but as his reputation grew it began to beleaguer him, coming too close for comfort. Sometimes it tended to present him – a man interested solely in his literature –simply as stupid. To counteract all that, he had Hennetmair, who found him his property, his houses and woods, negotiating the deals at favourable prices, but also mediated between the writer and the outside world on an everyday level. Hennetmair dealt with everything from broken window frames to mental garbage, acting as dumping ground and recycling facility. He always kept unwanted visitors away from Bernhard, but equally received him into his own family circle. There they chatted, joked and put the world to rights. Later Hennetmair retreated to his study to write it all down in his diary, which we can now satisfy our curiosity by reading.