Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard (1984)

This is my fifth venture into the dark world of Thomas Bernhard.  In normal Bernardian fashion, the story is told by a Viennese man who thinks everyone but himself is a complete idiot.  It is one long paragraph.  It is an attack on the values of bourgeois Vienna, the art, the literature and the people.  The narrator hates everyone.

The story is set an "artistic party" hosted by a married couple the narrator was friends with thirty years ago.  The occasion is the observation of the death by suicide, unfortunately he ran into the couple while on a stroll in the park and they invited him to the party.  

Bernhard is not for everyone.  I am quite fond of his work.  It is fun to try to reconstruct what really is going on through the narration of the often unbalanced but always very cultured and intelligent narrators.

I hope to eventually read all of his work available as a Kindle

Please share your experience with Thomas Bernhard with us.


  • Frost (1963), translated by Michael Hofmann (2006)
  • Gargoyles (Verstörung, 1967), translated by Richard and Clara Winston (1970). *
  • The Lime Works (Das Kalkwerk, 1970), translated by Sophie Wilkins (1973)
  • Correction (Korrektur, 1975), translated by Sophie Wilkins (1979). *
  • Yes (Ja, 1978), translated by Ewald Osers (1991)
  • The Cheap-Eaters (Die Billigesser, 1980), translated by Ewald Osers (1990)
  • Concrete (Beton, 1982), translated by David McLintock (1984). *
  • Wittgenstein's Nephew (Wittgensteins Neffe, 1982), translated by David McLintock (1988) *
  • The Loser (Der Untergeher, 1983), translated by Jack Dawson (1991)
  • Woodcutters (Holzfällen: Eine Erregung, 1984), translated by Ewald Osers (1985) and as Woodcutters, by David McLintock (1988). *
  • Old Masters: A Comedy (Alte Meister. Komödie, 1985), translated by Ewald Osers (1989)
  • Extinction (Auslöschung, 1986), translated by David McLintock (1995). *
  • On the Mountain (In der Höhe, written 1959, published 1989), translated by Russell Stockman (1991)

(I have read and posted on the items marked with a *)

Mel u


Fred said...

Mel u,

I've never read anything by him so far.

I did a bit of checking after reading your review and discovered that the public library has a copy of _Woodcutters_, so I put it on my futures' list. My hold list is already filled with 15 entries, so I will have to wait a bit to reserve it.

Mel u said...

Fred, I will look forward to your reaction to his work. Thanks for your comment