An unnamed writer arrives at an 'artistic dinner' hosted by a composer and his society wife: a couple he once admired, but has now come to detest. They have been brought together by their friend Joana's suicide, but the guest of honour, a famous actor from the Burgtheatre, is late. As the guests await his arrival, little do they know that they are being subjected to the narrator's merciless scrutiny from his wing-backed throne, the targets of a tirade of epic, frenzied proportions. When the star actor finally arrives, he ushers in an explosive end to the evening that is impossible to see coming.
Originally banned in Thomas Bernhard's homeland, Woodcutters brutally exposes the hollow pretentiousness of the Austrian bourgeoisie in an unforgettable firework display of humour and horror - newly illuminated by Anne Enright's afterword.