Brilliant, bilious, hilarious, unsettling, a breathlessly intense, sustained novelistic experience that leaves you smiling and strained on the outside, nicked and nourished beneath the skin.
By this point in his literary output Thomas Bernhard was a master craftsman, and the narrative voice he conjures for the unnamed—but immensely Bernhardian—writer whose interiority serves as the driving force of this little human engine that couldn't ranks among his very best.
Personally, and has always proven the case with this author, the experience of reading Woodcutters was binary in nature—there's the surface story, unfolding in monoparagraphic form before one's eyes, that features the usual cast of obsessive, anguished, speechifying, misanthrop In a prominent, welltrafficked gallery of the Bad Dinner Guest Hall of Fame we should logically expect to find the (unnamed) narrator of Thomas Bernhard's excoriating masterpiece Woodcutters, who not only isolates himself from the other guests, preferring a lone wing chair in the entryway to their generally detestable company, but also spends the better part of the evening mentally dissecting, dismantling, and disparaging everyone who is unlucky enough to fall under his gaze.
At the longanticipated conclusion of the party, the narrator admits that he only spoke twiceonce to ask a question of the guest of honor, and later to insult the host.
Once he falls asleep and shrugs off the hostess testily when she tries to wake him.
Later he remains at the dinner table Ok, let’s just cut to the chase.
This work, this novel, this brilliantly flowing diatribe of comic vitriol, is a work of pure consummate genius.
The writing, the pacing, the internal dialogue, the word choice, and probably the translation, too (though that is only a guess)—it is all perfect, perfect, perfect.
You people will think I’m joking when I say this, but I am telling you: this book is a freaking pageturner.
Woodcutters is the firstperson narrative of an overthehill, acrimonious gentleman who becomes reunited with a group of shallow, pretentious, artistic “wannabe” individuals with whom he had once been intimately acquainted, after the death of one of their mutual friends.
For most of the story, the narrat Woodcutters is a story about the ruination of artistic hopes – it is a complex, multilayered and caustic tale of life in the world of arts.
People hated me and everything I wrote, and ganged up against me in the most vicious fashion whenever they saw me.
But ever since my return from London I had been on my guard against them, against all the people I had known previously, but above all against these socalled artistic figures from the fifties, and especially those who had come to this artistic dinner.
The narration – a virtual torrent of gall – is an inner soliloquy of an old lonely writer disappointed in all those present at the artistic dinner and in all their creative ambitions.
This inner monologue is sorrowfully bitter and sadly ambivalent…
How low they’ve sunk, I thou ô Holzfällen: Eine Erregung ì This excellent monologue combines the acid wit of Sorrentino’s Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things to another book whose title escapes me for the moment but will be added to the review upon remembering.
A melancholic and hilarious novel sans para breaks (first Bernhard for me—assuming all of them are similar) told from the perspective of an embittered writer in his twilight years reflecting (after the death of a friend) upon the odious Austrian demimonde he has been trapped in for too long.
The suicide of Joana brings him to an afterfuneral shindig at the home of rich artistic poseurs the Auersbergers, who he proceeds to eviscerate from the comfort of his wing chair in some of the most painful and acute putdownprose this side of Laura Warholic, offering little flashes of his own unnoble behaviour, but mostly observing like the Underground Man but with no dr
Before the year 2012 was out, I needed my usual fix of Thomas Bernhard.
I've picked my favourite: Holzfällen" (meaning literally "Lumbering").
I've read this in German a long time ago.
This time round I wanted to tackle him through an English translation.
I've chosen the McLintock translation, due to the raving reviews, and I must say it never felt I was reading a translation.
At the end of this English version, I wanted to read again the German version, just to feel the flow of reading a book in the form of 192pagesnochapters paragraph in Bernhard's German "prose".
After reading it no one will be able to forget it! How I'd love to see it on stage.
This book embodies what I love the most about Bernhard intense prose.
It just drags you in as though you are the narr “I eagerly crack open the book and can feel myself getting smarter as I turn the first few pages.
At first, even though it is really depressing, this book excites me because it deals with
mental healththe arts, a subject I am very interested in.
Do you consider yourself an eclectic reader? Willing to broaden your horizons, now and then explore one of those slightly obscure but muchadmired novels? On top of that do you find it next to impossible to abandon a book? Well try this one on for size.
From his wingchair at an ‘artistic’ party in Vienna an aging writer reflects back on his life, and mentally assassinates the character of every person (himself included) in the room.
The party’s focus shifts between discussing an actress who has recently hung herself and the pompous guest of ho This is a winged chair:
Just a chair.
This is a man in a winged chair:
He is the observer; the archetype of neurosis.
Neither are authentic to the story of ‘Woodcutters’, but are significant in nature.
A man possibly perceived as having a sense of ubiquity mocks his old acquaintances, but also mocks 19th century Viennese bourgeoisie society.
As this nonforgiving, selfdeprecating curmudgeon sits in his winged chair he displays his angst of the past and his hatred for the hypocrisy of th
As I sat in my chair after reading of a man sat in a chair, I thought, what an odd, darkly comic and nihilistically cold book this was.
The only thing I am sure of is I haven't read anything quite like it before.
I wouldn't have minded going for a drink with Mr Bernhard, but if this is his idea of a dinner party, I would decline the invitation and stay at home with a good book and some takeaway noodles.
The novel takes place over only a couple of hours, but is told with large chunks of flashback thoughts, so the time scale feels far greater, and features an intolerable narrator who can't be bothered to leave the 'wingbacked chair' his derrière is comfortably planted on, during an uncomfortable dinner party held in honour of an actor performing in a production of Ibsen's The Wild Duck.
The hosts, 'the Auersbergers', are a most unlikeable couple (ignorant cultural Book, Holzfällen: Eine Erregung By Thomas Bernhard This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Holzfällen: Eine Erregung, Essay By Thomas Bernhard.
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