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Free download Die Hauptstadt 107 Ü Brussels A panorama of tragic heroes manipulative losers involuntary accomplices In his new novel Robert Menasse spans a narrative arc between the times the nations the inevitable and the irony of fate between petty bureaucracy and big emotionsFenia Xenapoulou is facing a career setback She has been »promoted« to the DepaEuropean Commission Fenia is thrilled but she didn’t take the other European nations into account Austria a Polish camp could not be misused to uestion the Austrian nation Poland Auschwitz is a German problem Germany Islam by now a part of Germany had nothing to do with Auschwitz What’s Fenia can’t count on David de Vriend one of the last living witnesses any longer he runs to the metro station Maalbeek at the wrong timeInspector Brunfaut is in a difficult situation as well He is supposed to leave a murder case covered up at the highest level at rest But luckily he is friends with the chief computer scientists of the Brussels. There's something very European about this novel which exudes a sensibility that a British novelist just doesn't have Partly it's stylistic the mix of satire farce and something serious epitomized by the PR campaign to make Auschwitz the heart of the EC jubilee an idea both grotesue and yet oddly moving as the European project for supranational unity was launched in the wake of the Holocaust and the devastation of WW2 Menasse has a sharp eye for career bureaucrats and creaking processes but never loses his sense of perspective and fun The ensemble cast and the weaving connections between them keep us on our toes but there's affection here too and a fundamental belief in democracy as challenging but build on a commitment to discussion and debate rather than the flouncing off in a huff that is Brexit The assassin plot strand seems to have wandered in from another book and the whole thing could be tightened up but beneath the fun is an important issue about the goodwill of the European project where it came from and what it means still What a shame then that some of us will merely be watching from the side lines

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Police Department who can gain access to the secret files of the public prosecutor‘s office Matek the Polish hitman knows nothing of this when he makes his escape But he does know that he shot the wrong guy That’s not nothing to Matek He would rather have become ordained a priest; the fact that he had to follow his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps in becoming a “soldier of Christ” doesn’t really make him happy And yes there are others who are unhappy as well the pig farmers who take to the streets with pitchforks in protest of the existing trade restrictions blocking the profitable export of pigs’ ears to China. This wasn't an easy read but I sure did enjoy reading it I didn't have much knowledge of the European Union or the European Commission before I read this but I feel I have been a much better understanding and I'm glad for that I won't forget the characters in this novel and that for me says a great deal Highly recommended

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Die HauptstadtBrussels A panorama of tragic heroes manipulative losers involuntary accomplices In his new novel Robert Menasse spans a narrative arc between the times the nations the inevitable and the irony of fate between petty bureaucracy and big emotionsFenia Xenapoulou is facing a career setback She has been »promoted« to the Department of Culture by the Directorate General – no budget no power no reputation So the »Big Jubilee Project« comes just at the right time for her she is to revamp the boring image of the European Commission Her Austrian personal assistant Martin Susmann suggests proclaiming Auschwitz as the birthplace of the. Here it is The first major novel about the inner workings of European politics in our capital Brussels While the tone is often light and ironic this book is whip smart when it dissects the many conflict lines that we are struggling with in the EU on a continent steeped in blood where history is always also personal history and different views collide all the time Democracy means to acknowledge and handle conflict and to do that is sometimes hard so hard in fact that some people seem to think that nationalism isolationism or authoritarianism are the solution yeah why not repeat the same mistakes ad inifinitum sigh But the majority of EU citizens especially young people all over the continent want the European project to succeed the EU didn't receive the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing Menasse an Austrian turns the people within the apparatus who in the news mostly remain anonymous and are referred to as bureaucrats lobbyists and experts into the protagonists of this tale They have different backgrounds their families are affected differently by European history there is an Italian count a Greek Cypriot a Holocaust survivor a Czech EU worker whose sister marries a right wing anti EU politician and many others they represent national governments or entities with different interests and many work within EU departments with conflicting aims this might at first sound surprising but it's normal even on the national and the state level The Minister for Economy often has different aims than the Minister for the Environment for example On top of that there's always the human factor Many characters are in career politics they have personal goals and power tactics this is European House of Cards There are two main narrative strands that hold the story together and connect the cast of characters The Big Jubilee Project that aims to improve the image of the Commission and a conflict over a trade deal with China concerning pigs so we are dealing with bread and butter trade policy and the PR aspect of the EU Anyone who is familiar with the inner workings of politics on any level will recognize classic dynamics here but they are complicated by the factor of different countries joining in Menasse's genius is to fill these discussions that some people might suspect to be dry with life by showing what's at stake for the individuals involved how all of this relates to their personal history how they are torn between the European mission most of them are no cynics but believers national politics and personal vanity and how the strict bureaucratic rules can deform people and stifle the vision that is so desperately needed Sometimes Menasse is overreaching a little I wouldn't have needed the whole criminal conspiracy storyline and the actual pig which might be running through or just reported to be running through Brussels is the reason why I refrained from reading this book for almost two years in German there is the term eine neue Sau durchs Dorf treiben to chase a new sow through the village which means that a topic gets hyped up and then dropped for a new topic thus creating circles of discussions without any conseuences But all in all this book is a real feat We need stories like that to fill abstract concepts with life and stimulate discussion So I'm actually fine with this winning the German Book Prize 2017 And you can check out the #Europa22 campaign on twitter Menasse lets one of his protagonists suggest European instead of national passports and the Austrian band Bilderbuch just started a viral pro EU campaign that features just that all kinds of people already take part from the German foreign minister to late night host Jan Böhmermann You can also join the movement