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German Literature (166)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226043967, Paperback)
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 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.
"Mr. Bernhard's portrait of a society in dissolution has a Scandinavian darkness reminiscent of Ibsen and Strindberg, but it is filtered through a minimalist prose. . . . Woodcutters offers an unusually intense, engrossing literary experience."—Mark Anderson, New York Times Book Review
"Musical, dramatic and set in Vienna, Woodcutters. . . .resembles a Strauss operetta with a libretto by Beckett."—Joseph Costes, Chicago Tribune
"Thomas Bernhard, the great pessimist-rhapsodist of German literature . . . never compromises, never makes peace with life. . . . Only in the pure, fierce isolation of his art can he get justice."—Michael Feingold, Village Voice
"In typical Bernhardian fashion the narrator is moved by hatred and affection for a society that he believes destroys the very artistic genius it purports to glorify. A superb translation."—Library Journal
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:17 -0400)
Anticipating the arrival of a star actor, the narrator dismantles the hollow pretentiousness at the heart of the Austrian bourgeoisie. The effect is devastating, the horror only redeemed by the humour.
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