About the book
'That's brutal violence on a defenceless person, and quite unnecessary, declares Sophie, and she pulls with an audible tearing sound at the hair of the man lying in an untidy heap on the ground. What's unnecessary is best of all, says Rainer, who wants to go on fighting. We ageed on that.' It is the late 1950s. A man is out walking in a park in Vienna. He will be beaten up by four teenagers, not for his money, he has an average amount ? nor for anything he might have done to them, but because the youths are arrogant and very pleased with themselves. Their arrogance is their way of reacting to the maggot?ridden corpse that is Austria where everyone has a closet to hide their Nazi histories, their sexual perversions and their hatred of the foreigner. Elfriede Jelinek, who writes like an angel of all that is tawdry, shows in Wonderful, Wonderful Times how actions of the present are determined by thoughts of the past.
A dozen years after the collapse of the Third Reich, four adolescents commit a gratuitously violent assault and robbery in a Viennese park. So begins Jelinek's brilliant new novel, an unrelenting and horrifying exploration of postwar Austria...
The writing is so strong, it reads as if it wasn't written down at all, but as if the author's demon spirit is entering first a boy and then a girl, a structure, a thing, a totality, to let it speak its horrible truth.