The Loser is a novel by Thomas Bernhard, originally published in German in 1983.
The novel does not take place at the time of the events recounted, but at the time its narrator recalls them. There are three main characters: the narrator (who is the only survivor), Glenn Gould, who died a natural death at fifty-one, and Wertheimer who committed suicide some time later. The novel consists almost entirely of recollections and ruminations relating to the relationships between the three.
In Mozarteum in Salzburg in 1953 the main characters met a young Canadian prodigy who played the Goldberg Variations miraculously and who, they quickly came to realize, was a greater pianist than even their teacher—indeed, 'the most important piano virtuoso of the century,' as the narrator puts it in the novel's opening sentence.
The encounter with Gould affects both characters decisively for almost three decades, as they experience an endless series of personal and intellectual travails.