Woodcutters

Woodcutters This controversial portrayal of Viennese artistic circles begins as the writer narrator arrives at an artistic dinner given by a composer and his society wife a couple that the writer once admired and

  • Title: Woodcutters
  • Author: Thomas Bernhard
  • ISBN: 9780394551524
  • Page: 253
  • Format: Hardcover
  • This controversial portrayal of Viennese artistic circles begins as the writer narrator arrives at an artistic dinner given by a composer and his society wife a couple that the writer once admired and has come to loathe The guest of honor, an actor from the Burgtheater, is late As the other guests wait impatiently, they are seen through the critical eye of the narratoThis controversial portrayal of Viennese artistic circles begins as the writer narrator arrives at an artistic dinner given by a composer and his society wife a couple that the writer once admired and has come to loathe The guest of honor, an actor from the Burgtheater, is late As the other guests wait impatiently, they are seen through the critical eye of the narrator, who begins a silent but frenzied, sometimes maniacal, and often ambivalent tirade against these former friends, most of whom were brought together by the woman whom they had buried that day Reflections on Joana s life and suicide are mixed with these denunciations until the famous actor arrives, bringing a culmination to the evening for which the narrator had not even thought to hope.

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      Posted by:Thomas Bernhard
      Published :2018-04-21T18:44:48+00:00

    1 thought on “Woodcutters”

    1. 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 page-turner.Woodcutters is the first-person narrative of an over-the-hill, acrimonious [...]

    2. 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 [...]

    3. The book is excellently readable, and in my opinion this makes it a very good entry for people who have not read Bernhard yet. But it contains everything that makes the books of Bernhard so readable: repetitions, cynicism, polemics and yet a certain sense of humor.

    4. In a prominent, well-trafficked 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 long-antici [...]

    5. “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 health the 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 much-admired novels? On top of that do you find it next to impossible to abandon a book? Well try this one on for [...]

    6. 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 p [...]

    7. The artistic life. The artistic world.Writing feels fake to me. Not other people's writing. I mean that me writing doesn't feel natural to me. The more articulate I try to be the worse it gets. This "You're such a fake" voice and a rising of stupidity blush on the back of my neck (my ears get it the worst, in the end). I do it anyway. I like thinking about stuff. I pretty much have to have it or I'll feel even more doldrums and pointless circles than ever. It's the trying to say it all together [...]

    8. In a big, old chair at a late night dinner party, the main character sits and rages silently over his hosts, their art snobbery and the general state of the culture scene in Vienna. Half hidden behind a door, he observes the other guests and reminisce on events from the past. He regrets accepting the invitation to this "late night artistic dinner" with old acquaintances he obviously loathes. My Norwegian translation has a subtitle that can be translated as "An agitation", which is very fitting. [...]

    9. 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 demi-monde he has been trapped in for too lo [...]

    10. This is a winged chair:Nothing spectacular. 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 non-forgiving, self-deprecating curmudgeon sits in his winged chair he displays his angst of the past and his hatred for the hy [...]

    11. The great paradox of this Bernhard narrator, like so many others, is his hypercritical nature, which is often in conflict with itself, and, for the entire book, his utterly static physical presence. Indeed, he never moves during the narration, which occurs at a dinner party, except to go to the next room and back. The action, if it can be called that, for most is reminiscence, takes place during a single day. The phase he uses constantly is: "I thought, sitting in the wing chair. . ." The unname [...]

    12. Woodcutters is surprisingly engrossing. Bernhard is clearly some sort of genius as I listened to the narrator, a miserable old goat, spellbound for 181 pages. The narrator is a thinker and spends most of the book ranting to himself about how unfortunate and overwhelming it is to have found himself at an ‘artistic’ dinner party, hosted by former friends. Brought together again after 30 years by the suicide of their mutual friend, Joana, on the eve of her funeral, the narrator reflects, well, [...]

    13. You’ve always lived a life of pretense, not a real life – a simulated existence, not a genuine existence. Everything about you, everything you are, has always been pretense, never genuine, never real. Bernhard's satire of Viennese petit bourgeois society is one long frantic, hateful, angry, and at times even nostalgic internal monologue. It’s narrated as if it’s one deep exhale by an aging writer who has returned to Vienna after several decades away and has reunited with people he “did [...]

    14. Thomas Bernhard’s Woodcutters is a fascinating, claustrophobic (er, in a good way) book. The novel’s narrator sits in the corner of a party and comments on the attendees, their shared history, the nature of the Vienna art scene, and the subtle, hegemonic nuances of action and motivation. The party’s ostensible purpose is twofold. First, a celebrated actor, fresh from a triumphant performance in an Ibsen play, is invited but holds up dinner by failing to arrive until late in the evening. Se [...]

    15. Cada vez son menos las obras de Thomas Bernhard que me quedan por leer, es por ello que me las voy racionando, porque después ya sé que no habrán nuevas obras de mi admirado Bernhard por leer, y sólo me quedará releer sus obras. Crítica severa de la sociedad artística y cultural de Viena, y crítica despiadada de la propia Viena, ‘Tala’ (1984) es un monólogo interior, desde su sillón de orejas, de un narrador y protagonista que ha sido invitado a una cena artística por los Auersber [...]

    16. There are many writers who have written books and most of them are crap, but that is not the case with Thomas Bernhard, who is a great writer, and his books are not crap. Thomas Bernhard writes great books, that is to say, he did write great books, and he was a great writer, but now, I am pretty sure, Thomas Bernhard is dead. Considering that he is dead, it is no longer accurate to say that Thomas Bernhard writes great books; however, it is still wholly accurate to say that his books are great. [...]

    17. Novel "Woodcutters" takes place during one evening through so-called artistic dinner given by a couple of narrator’s former friends. A pretext for the dinner is a visit of known actor, but the real reason is a suicidal death of their mutual friend, unfulfilled artist Joana. And that way a celebration for the actor transforms into a funeral reception. What would come of it? Nothing good except a gripping writing.Narrator, an uncompromising observer hidden in the shadow, sitting in the wing chai [...]

    18. Have you ever existed within the periphery of a group of friends, or maybe classmates in school? You’re never truly accepted by them. Maybe they use you for your access to pharmaceuticals or because you’re careless/generous with money. They belittle you; you are the butt of all of their jokes, they’re only nice to you when you have something to offer. Then you grow up and move on. You realize these people are shit. That they’re not as smart, as funny, as charming as you thought. You rese [...]

    19. In one of his many interviews Karl Ove Knausgaard praised the work of Thomas Bernhard, an Austrian writer (1931-1989) of whom I had never heard. His work was placed in the canon of great 20th Century literature. He wrote in German. Scrolling through the list of titles translated into English I chose Woodcutters to get an idea of his work. First published in 1984, it was translated and published in English by Knopf in 1987. It references the atmosphere of the 1950s or perhaps the early 1960s. A m [...]

    20. Just re-read after 8+ years: not nearly as funny as I remembered, which isn't what I was expecting, since I re-read it to prep for an essay on Bernhard's humor: hmmm. Laughs at first may have come in part from initial exposure to his intoxicating/detoxifying technology in prose. It's not all bile at all -- the moments of tenderness for his friends and Vienna really stood out this time, as when he shifts into generalizing "we" mode. The style isn't totally refined yet either. I'd almost be tempte [...]

    21. Wherein a man attends a dinner and demolishes a country without leaving his chair (or even opening his mouth); then, high on his own splenetic vituperation, falls in love with it all over again.But this new "love" is at once sincere, ironic, and deeply conflicted.Add to this the circular nature of the narrative - the narrator at the end is in a rush to write the book you just read, which makes of the book a verbal maelstrom - and you have one fascinating and fantastic book.Key quote - Although I [...]

    22. 7 / 10 Anlaşılır ama akıcı değildi. Kitapta bölümler ve aralar olmaması okunurluğu zorlaştırıyor. En azından YKY bazı satırlar arası boşluk vs koyabilirdi -paragraf bile yoktu- sanki az sayfa tutsun da maliyet düşük olsun gibi yöntem izlenmiş. Altını çizdiğim çok yer oldu. Thomas Bernhard ile tanıştığıma memnunum.

    23. Available in English as “Woodcutters” and “Cutting Timber: An Irritation”Thomas Bernhard is the Shakespeare of grumpy ramblings, fiercely holding his ground while embracing contradictory emotions. Almost 30 years after his death, his literary importance doesn’t fade, on the contrary: Bernhard has become a postmodern classic, and just recently, author Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre (who is extremely famous in German-speaking countries) maintained that “Woodcutters” was the best novel e [...]

    24. A five star which I folded, halfway through. Difficult decision but so it goes. There is absolutely nothing to complain about: in fact I felt cocooned in a security blanket quilted with the reassuring monotone of neurotic repetitive obsessiveness: ‘as I sat in that arm chair’, intones Bernhard over and over again, until its languid whisper acquires the sensual sussurance of a Buddist mantra; chair or ‘Om’, the effect is equally hypnotic and lulling. But. I’m crossing over to the camp w [...]

    25. Oh dear. What can I say about this? Well, for one thing, I am glad I survived the experience of reading this novel. After 200 pages of violent, angry rants against the Viennese art establishment, and attacks on myself (as the book is written by an I-narrator) I feel physically exhausted, and in need of counselling.But I am jumping ahead. The first thing I would like to do is recommend an edition. I can only recommend buying the hardcover edition in Thomas Bernhard's Complete Works, recently comp [...]

    26. تاريخ القراءة الأصلي : ٢٠٠٨رواية مهمة وسوداوية من الأدب الألماني، حافلة بمراقبة الحياة الكئيبة في مجتمع النمسا الثري ولكنه خاوي من الروح الوثابة، مجتمع مستقر ولكن بعض أفراده يتطلعون نحو غد مختلف ثم يفشلون ويعيشون في مرارة كبيرة

    27. One of the best of his, no doubt about it. The structure is perfection itself, and the musicality of it (even in this excellent translation) is a wonder.

    28. monomaniacal curmudgeon aka unreliable narrator whom I think doth protest too much spews hate from a wing chair.lots of words, no point. also no chapter breaks, no dialogue, no plot, no relief in sight. mind-numbingly repetitive - the perfect before-bed soporoficis is highly rated and lauded by my very smart friends who've read it - so what am I missing? does it get better? does it get different? is there a reason to pick this up again?__________ETA: To clarify, I have put this on my "abandoned- [...]

    29. After a friend (failed artist, of course) commits suicide, our narrator is reunited with some former friends he hasn't met in 20-30 years at what passes for a wake, but is really just yet another opportunity for a gang of aging authors, musicians, critics and actors to hang out, talk about their own genius and talk shit about each other. And he sits there, grieving, in a corner, chewing over one long internal stream-of-consciousness monologue of Captain Haddockisms aimed at the others (perfidiou [...]

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