Elfriede Jelinek

Elfriede Jelinek is an Austrian playwright and novelist, known for her critical social commentary and provocative style. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 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.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Piano Teacher

    "The Piano Teacher" is a dark exploration of power dynamics, sexuality, and repression. The story revolves around a piano teacher at a prestigious music school in Vienna who lives with her overbearing mother in a state of emotional and sexual repression. Her life takes a turn when she becomes sexually involved with a young, self-assured student. The relationship, marked by sadomasochistic games and emotional manipulation, spirals out of control, leading to a tragic end. The book is a profound critique of bourgeois values and the oppressive structures of society.

  2. 2. Lust

    This book is a provocative exploration of the dynamics of power and desire within the confines of a loveless marriage. Set against the backdrop of the Austrian Alps, it delves into the life of a woman trapped in a relationship with her abusive and unfaithful husband, a powerful paper mill owner. The narrative dissects the commodification of sex, the objectification of women, and the societal structures that perpetuate these themes. Through a stark and unflinching examination of the protagonist's degradation and the pervasive corruption in her world, the novel presents a scathing critique of consumerism, the patriarchy, and the hollow nature of modern relationships.

  3. 3. The Children Of The Dead

    This novel is a unique and haunting exploration of memory, history, and the legacy of the Holocaust in Austria, presented through a complex narrative that blends elements of horror, satire, and social critique. Set in a stylized and eerie version of the Austrian countryside, the story unfolds around a protagonist who embarks on a journey that intertwines with the lives of the undead, revealing the persistent shadows of World War II and the Holocaust on contemporary society. The narrative's challenging structure, incorporating dense streams of consciousness and a shifting perspective, serves as a vehicle for the author's incisive commentary on issues of national identity, collective memory, and the dangers of forgetting the past. Through its innovative use of language and form, the book confronts readers with the unsettling realities of history's impact on the present, making it a compelling and thought-provoking read.