I apologize for going into detail about the logic of music, but I believe that an intellectual understanding of that logic is necessary for the reader to grasp the underlying reasoning in Wondratschek’s writing.
And that description of musical logic is just the beginning. Writing words and sentences according to these rules rather than according to the rules of language results in highly poetic but hard-to-comprehend texts. It produces in passages like the following:
The visible conceals the invisible.
Like even numbers conceal the odd, like a fan conceals a face?
A movie star, female, a big icon, in an interview: “I’m only a beautiful woman when no one’s looking.”
Hence Self-Portrait with Russian Piano was a major challenge to read. The central character of the story was a musician, an exiled Soviet pianist living in Vienna. He thinks and speaks according to the logic of music.
Obviously, I found reading the book difficult. And I am a trained musician, with a BA in music. I regularly play the piano and, now many years ago, composed reams of music. I concluded that if a trained musician had trouble reading the book, non-musicians would find it all but incomprehensible.
The result was that I couldn’t recommend the book for the general reader—reading it would be too difficult. That didn’t mean that I judged the book as in any sense inferior. It’s just not intended for those who can’t think—and read—in musical terms.