translated by Craig Decker
In 2010, Robert Menasse journeyed to Brussels to begin work on a novel on the European Union. His extended stay resulted in a completely different book, a work of nonfiction examining the history of the European project and the evolving politics of a nation-state.
Spanning from the beginning of the transnational idea with 1951’s Montanunion – the European Coal and Steel Community – to the current financial crisis, Menasse focuses on the institutional structures and forces both advancing and obstructing the European project. Given the internal tensions among the European Commission, Parliament and Council, Menasse argues that current problems that are frequently misunderstood as resulting from the financial crisis are, in fact, political. Along the way, he makes the bold claim that either the Europe of nation-states will perish – or the project of transcending the nation-states will.
Menasse brings his considerable literary expertise to the unravelling of the real state of the Union while weaving an intriguing tale of one continent’s efforts to become a truly post-national democracy.
German original published by Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Vienna, under the title Der Europäische Landbote: Die Wut der Bürger und der Friede Europas oder Warum die geschenkte Demokratie einer erkämpften weichen muss in 2012.