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author Emma Cline for The Guardian Weekend Magazine
oblivious rally-goer in Puebla, Mex.
late night subway for The Guardian
Artist Sumie Garcia in her Mexico City studio, for BOMB magazine
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Teenage submarine engineer for Scholastic
Storyteller Kimberly Reed for The Guardian Weekend Magazine
Bernie Madoff's former secretary for The National Post
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Squash phenomenon Ramy Ashour for The Wall Street Journal
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After a period of near-obsession with the author Thomas Bernhard, I visited Austria and Germany to find locations from his life and work. I returned with this gloomy photo essay. Is it evocative for readers of Bernhard, as I'd hoped? I don't know. If nothing else, it's a quiet look at contemporary Austria. Biographical details in these captions are from Bernhard's memoirs or The Making of an Austrian, a biography by Gitta Honegger. Above, I first went to Ettendorf, Germany, where Bernhard's grandfather lived. Bernhard spent some of his childhood in Traunstein, nearby on the other side of a small river.
Bernhard wrote in Gathering Evidence of trying to ride his bike from Germany to Salzburg when he was eight years old. I took a train.
Bernhard later lived in Salzburg, where he left school to work as a grocer's apprentice.
In some of Bernhard's novels, strange things happen at inns. I met a stranger in one. This is Aleksei Martynov, a college student from Russia.
Bernhard would listen to performances of the Salzburg Festival from the Mönchsberg, a mountain overlooking the city.
This man, Bruno, suggested I go to Bernhard's house in Ohlsdorf, and I went, expecting to find a humble farm house. Instead I saw the home of someone who had moved to the city, become enriched by it, and then bought a nice home in the country. I respected the dictate of the sign that prohibited photography.
Music students practice at the Mozarteum, where part of The Loser is set. Bernhard was an acting student here.
I asked the students if they could play the Goldberg Variations, a Bach composition central to The Loser, and the students laughed and said no. Apparently it's a difficult piece.
This is the Salzach river, and how I imagine the Aurach Gorge in Correction might look. The real Aurach was no was no roaring river. It was a pleasant stream.
This is the hospital in Grafenhof where Bernhard was treated as a tuberculosis patient. Many of Bernhard's characters suffer from a lung ailment, and his own troubled him until his brother, a doctor, assisted him in ending his life.
Bernhard met his life partner, Hedwig, while a patient at the Grafenhof sanitarium.
This is Hohenwerfen Castle, an how I imagine Hochgobernitz in Gargoyles might look. Hochgobernitz was inhabited by a malicious patriarch who wanted to end his family.
I wandered, though not too far from the road, into the Austrian Alps. I had Frost in mind, though I had not been sent to check up on someone's ailing relative.
The Kobernausser forest, site of the Cone dwelling in Correction. I walked toward what I thought would be the exact center of the forest before turning back. I didn't want to be lost.
This is the estate at Wolfsegg. In Extinction, the narrator watches preparation for his parents' funeral from a window.
Bernhard once paid for his friend Paul Wittgenstein's three-hour taxi ride from Vienna to Gmunden.
I drove and climbed the Aurach Valley looking for a hunting lodge on Mount Hochkreut. I read that it had inspired the setting of Correction.
I wandered winding mountain roads. Entschuldigen, Hund. Wo ist Aurach Schloss?
But I could not find it, just this tree in a clearing. In Correction, the character Roithamer hangs himself from a tree in a clearing.
I did find the real-life shop of Hoeller, the taxidermist fictionalized in Correction.
I continued east to Vienna, where I saw a performance of Ibsen's The Wild Duck.
The narrator of Woodcutters observes and criticizes a dinner party whose guest of honor is an actor in a Vienna production of The Wild Duck. Only at the end of the novel is the narrator's scorn shown to protect a deep love for Vienna and its people. Conversely, it was my outsider status that made the obvious cultural beauty of Vienna unapproachable.
I compared people I met with the Austrians of Bernhard's works. Were they recognizable? Only by filling out their characteristics in my mind. This mad man asked me to call him Kafka.
This is the Steinhof hospital in Vienna, site of Wittgenstein's Nephew.
Bernhard's novel Old Masters features Tintoretto's White-Bearded Man at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
In Old Masters, an aging man sits in front of White-Bearded Man every other day.
I left my wanderweg, or trail, at a restaurant in Vienna.
James Middleton, right, and Andy Bell for The New York Times
chestnut-bellied seed finches in competition for The New York Times
actor Andrew McCarthy for AAA
MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga for The Wall Street Journal