The Piano Teacher - Elfriede Jelinek
Erika Kohut teaches piano at the Vienna Conservatory by day. By night she trawls the city's porn shows while her mother, whom she loves and hates in equal measure, waits up for her. Into this emotional pressure-cooker bounds music student and ladies' man Walter Klemmer.
With Walter as her student, Erika spirals out of control, consumed by the ecstasy of self-destruction. A haunting tale of morbid voyeurism and masochism, The Piano Teacher, first published in 1983, is Elfreide Jelinek's Masterpiece.
Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize For Literature in 2004 for her 'musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power.
The Piano Teacher was adapted into an internationally successful film by Michael Haneke, which won three major prizes at Cannes, including the Grand Prize and Best Actress for Isabelle Huppert.
Serpent’s Tail. 2016. 288 pages. Paperback.