Three years ago I picked up some books when we were staying a few days in Freiburg, Germany, on our way to Switzerland for New Years Eve. I tend to read in the evening in bed before going to sleep and then prefer using an e-reader. Paper books get to be ignored easily. As happened to this one for two years. Early last year however I had my reading moments earlier in the evening.

I then read Robert Menasse’s Die Hauptstadt, or The Capital. Menasse is an Austrian author, whose work I enjoy. I have most of his novels.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book as well, created as an European novel: it is set in Brussels, although the titular capital refers not merely to the seat of the EU civil service, but also to the one forever darkest spot in our European history. A European novel in the sense that it’s playing with the historic layers and multiple meanings present in every piece of this continent as well as in its individual citizens. Usually shaped as contradictions, paradoxes and ironic coincidences, but put together forming an enormous wealth of humanity with its abundant variety, interconnectedness and potential serendipity. It’s a 450 pages sized version of what E and I mean when we say Europe works. I read it in the original German, but there’s an English translation.

(I read this book a year ago, right about when I last posted something in my books feed. Having at some point last year moved all never finished draft posts in my site to these notes, and now since this weekend having a way of easily finding any draft posts as well as posting from my notes directly to my site, this draft was an unlikely yet sudden candidate for posting.)