Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard my 300th review

Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard

German title Holzfällen: Eine Erregung,

Austrian fiction

Translator – David McLintock

Source – library

Well after reading the corrections earlier this year ,I felt I need another fix of him before the year was out ,so when this had appeared in the library system I ordered it in .So I said a bit about him in my post earlier this month so I ll add this gobbit .In his last will ,he had banned all future productions and editions of his books within Austria for the remaining length of the copyright .This dislike of the system of arts and appreciation of arts within Austria is apt for this book .

While everyone was waiting for the actor ,who had promised to join the dinner party in the Gentzgasse after the premier of “The Wild Duck ” ,I observed the Auersbergers carefully from the same wing chair I had sat in nearly every day during the fifties , reflecting that it had been a grave mistake to accept their invitation .

Our narrator sat at the start of the book .

The arty types of Vienna have just been to the Burgtheater to see the latest production a version of the Henrik Ibsen play “the wild ducks “(Which opens as a dinner party is about to start rather like this book ) .So the arty folk all arrive at the Ausbergers house awaiting dinner and the chance to meet the star of the show .We meet our Narrator he is sat in a wing backed chair .we know this as it is frequently mentioned .The narrator is by his opinion an outsider of the group have recently returned to Vienna .So as the nights go on we see the actor ripped apart by the guests and the whole art scene in Vienna dissected piece by piece ,this is interrupted as the narrator adds his own feelings on this as well .The evening moves on and as the drink flows the arguments and observations grow stronger .

At this point the actor suddenly started recounting anecdotes ,the kind of theatrical anecdotes that always go down well in Vienna and provide life support for many a Viennese party that would otherwise be in danger of dying of paralysis .Most Viennese parties are able to survive for a few hours only because of these anecdotes .

Parties can dive into boredom our narrator tells us

Well this is what I love about Bernhard intense prose that just drag you in you feel as thou you are the narrator ,he is a writer but maybe not the best or maybe not as well thought of as he should be either way you feel this in some part this is Bernhard himself thinly veiled .It is in a lot of ways about how you view art to appreciate it or pull it apart at the seams and seemingly pull talented people apart because of minor flaws .I was reminded as I read this of one particular episode of Frasier where Niles and Frasier were meant to go to the theatre to see a famous actor but due to a mistake end up spending the show outside due to the own pretensions not letting them loose face and end up meeting and talking to the star even thou they missed the show completely .You feel in this book you are in a room of Austrian Nile’s and Frasier’s ,they would slide in so well with the crowd in the book .I think this is my favourite by him and maybe a good place to start with Bernhard as it isn’t overly long .Oh and fitting choice to be the 300th review on Winstonsdad

Have you read this book ?

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. amanda
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 23:08:19

    Congrats on reaching your 300th review, stu! I’m glad it was one you enjoyed so much, too. I’ll have to try some German-language lit one of these days…


  2. Anbolyn Potter (@anbolynp)
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 02:48:15

    300 reviews -wow! Congratulations! And it sounds like one you really enjoyed.


  3. parrish lantern
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 06:23:27

    Not read this, although I’ve another of his books sat on my shelves. Congrats on your 300th.


  4. Louise
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 09:43:12

    Congratulations on 300 reviews, Stu! Woodcutters sounds good. Intriguing that it was banned in Bernhard’s Austria. I want to read it. Thanks for your comments.


  5. Tomcat
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 09:44:18

    Whoa! 300 reviews is a massive achievement! Many congrats.


  6. Lisa Hill
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 11:03:47

    Wow, 300, well done, Stu, what a wonderful contribution you have made to spreading the word about books in translation. This sounds like a good one too:)

    Something you recommended arrived in my post box just this week, one of these days I’m going to count up all the books on my TBR because of you!


  7. Rise
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 11:39:51

    I have this book (I had a pile of unread Bernhards!) and would want to read it very soon. Congrats on crossing the 300-benchmark!


  8. Tony
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 12:39:46

    Bernhard is one I’ll have to try next year as I’ve heard lots of good things. So many good German-language writers still to try…

    …and congratulations on the 300th review 🙂


  9. Nana Fredua-Agyeman
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 14:36:13

    Congrats. You’ve influenced me with some of your titles.


  10. Richard
    Dec 01, 2012 @ 05:11:03

    I was thinking of reading this for German Lit Month, too, and may still get around to it now that Lizzy’s extended the deadline for another half-week or so. Funny how Bernhard fans have cravings for his books every so often, isn’t it? He’s almost like the male Jane Austen or something! Have heard this is one of Bernhard’s best, but my fave so far (out of only two) is Wittgenstein’s Nephew. Anyway, congrats on reaching your 300th post, Stu.


  11. acommonreaderuk
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 08:56:13

    Very good! And congratulations on your 300th review – I’m now up to 312 so we’re pretty close in our progress. I didn’t get on too well with Bernhard before – this looks interesting though


  12. anokatony
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 18:51:15

    I’ve read both “The Woodcutters” and “The Corrections”, both of which were excellent, but my favorite like Richard abovr is “Wittgenstein’s Nephew” which is a novella and has all the traits of his best work. I tried reading “The Frost” recently but gave up on it.
    His best trait is that he can be authetically mean.


  13. Gavin
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 15:20:19

    Congratulations on you 300th review! You always review books that I end up adding to my TBR list. I’ve tagged you with an award, join in if you like!


  14. Emily Jane
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 22:14:59

    Hadn’t heard of this one Stu, congrats on your 300th post and thanks for always posting about stuff I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise 🙂


  15. Trackback: Woodcutters | Potter's Book Blog
  16. Trackback: Concrete by Thomas Bernhard | Winstonsdad's Blog

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November 2012


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