Book review — Victor Halfwit

Posted: April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

‘Victor Halfwit – A Winter’s Tale’ is written by Thomas Bernhard, an Austrian writer and translated by Martin Chalmers. This is surely one of my favourite books. This book leaves you with a question. That is one of the reasons why I like this book.

In the book there is a doctor and he has to meet his patient in the city next to his. For this he has to pass through the high forest at night. As he enters the high forest, he stumbles over a man called Victor Halfwit. This fellow has no legs and his wooden legs are broken as he was trying to hurry through the forest. It was not an easy walk because the path was covered with snow. Remember this is a winter’s tale.

Victor was rushing through the forest because he had made a bet with a mill-owner. The bet was about covering the distance between the forest and the city in an hour’s time. That is, starting at 11:00 pm from the forest and reaching the city by 12:00 pm. If he won the bet, he would get enough money from the mill-owner to buy a pair of shoes from the best cobbler inRussia.

So, when the doctor meets Victor in the forest, he has fallen on the ground and is almost dead. He decides to carry Victor on his back and run to reach the city church where his patient would also be waiting. They somehow manage to reach the city church before 12:00 pm and Victor wins the bet. He gets the money from the mill owner. But the funny thing is that the broken wooden legs of Victor will cost him much more than the pair of shoes. So what was the use of winning the bet?  Was Victor Halfwit mad? I also didn’t understand why the doctor had to carry Victor on his back when he had to urgently meet a patient? Did he want to save his life or did he want him to win the bet?

By the way, this book is full of illustrations. The story is just two pages, but the illustrations are hundreds of pages. It is done by Sunandini Banerjee and they are really awesome.

I get a lot of books as gifts and this was sent to me by Saibal mama, who is a very good photographer. In this book he has written that if I write a book, he’ll take photographs for my book. Isn’t that great?


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