By THOMAS BERNHARD
Thomas Bernhard’s Holzfällen is a merciless reckoning with Vienna’s bourgeois society. The novel had hardly appeared before it was confiscated from Austrian bookshops on 29.08.1984 by court order and remained banned for weeks. It was a Viennese critic who sensed that Bernhard’s novel was a roman-á-clef and, due to a composer allegedly depicted in the book, instigated a lawsuit which was only withdrawn in February 1985. What is certain, however, is that Holzfällen depicts the man who will reading on this perfectly cast evening: Claus Peymann, who at that time was already heralded as a future theatre director before running Vienna’s Burgtheater for 13 years.