Presented by Lisez l'Europe
Our upcoming book club
will feature a German literature novel
, and will take place Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm
at the Goethe-Institut Montreal.
The book chosen for this session is "The Capital",
by Robert Menasse
. The discussion will be held in French and moderated by Marie-Pierre Poulin
, librarian at the Goethe-Institut Montreal.
Please confirm your presence before February 7
at the following address:
About the book:
Winner of the German Book Prize 2017, The Capital is an “omniscient, almost Balzac-ian” (Steven Erlanger, New York Times) panorama of splintered Europe.
A highly inventive novel of ideas written in the rich European tradition, The Capital transports readers to the cobblestoned streets of twenty-first-century Brussels. Chosen as the European Union’s symbolic capital in 1958, this elusive setting has never been examined so intricately in literature. Translated with "zest, pace and wit" (Spectator) by Jamie Bulloch, Robert Menasse's The Capital plays out the effects of a fiercely nationalistic “union.”
Recalling the Balzacian conceit of assembling a vast parade of characters whose lives conspire to form a driving central plot, Menasse adapts this technique with modern sensibility to reveal the hastily assembled capital in all of its eccentricities. We meet, among others, Fenia Xenopoulou, a Greek Cypriot recently “promoted” to the Directorate-General for Culture. When tasked with revamping the boring image of the European Commission with the Big Jubilee Project, she endorses her Austrian assistant Martin Sussman’s idea to proclaim Auschwitz as its birthplace—of course, to the horror of the other nation states. Meanwhile, Inspector Émile Brunfaut attempts to solve a gritty murder being suppressed at the highest level; Matek, a Polish hitman who regrets having never become a priest, scrambles after taking out the wrong man; and outraged pig farmers protest trade restrictions as a brave escapee squeals through the streets.
These narratives and more are masterfully woven, revealing the absurdities—and real dangers—of a fracturing Europe. A tour de force from one of Austria’s most esteemed novelists, The Capital is a mordantly funny and piercingly urgent saga of the European Union, and an aerial feat of sublime world literature. (penguinrandomhouse.ca)
About the author:
Robert Menasse is an Austrian writer and essayist. His work has received various awards, including the European Book Prize and the prestigious German Book Prize. (penguinrandomhouse.ca)
The book can be obtained (in French) at the following bookstores:
(10% discount for Lisez l’Europe members
Librairie du Square au Carré St-Louis:
Librairie du Square - Outremont:
Also available as an eBook on chapters.indigo.ca
copies are also available through the Grande Bibliothèque. French copies are available through the Montreal public library system. One German copy is available through the Goethe-Institut Montreal.