• Woodcutters (Cutting Timber) by Thomas Bernhard

    Whereas many Bernhard novels conclude with a suicide, Cutting Timber, also known as Woodcutters and also in full Cutting Timber: An Irritation (and in German Holzfällen), commences with one.

    Much unravels concerning this death in Woodcutters, more than one might normally expect from Thomas Bernhard; indeed we are treated to an unsightly parade of Viennese artistic types, making this a highly pleasurable addition to the misanthropic canon.

    The suicide in Woodcutters is treated less as pathetic (The Loser) and less as a mandatory response to living (Old Masters) but as a more of a conventional tragedy which allows the full hypocritical reins of the characters to be let loose, the characters being largely artists, writers, musicians and theatre people.

    They are without doubt, and predictably, not an auspicious collection.