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  • MacLehose Press
  • MacLehose Press
  • MacLehose Press
  • MacLehose Press

The Capital: A "House of Cards" for the E.U.

Robert Menasse

9 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Fiction in translation


"I enjoyed THE CAPITAL so much... A major book" New York Times
"First-class satire" Guardian
"A deliciously vicious and timely satire" Financial Times
"Mischievous yet profound" Economist
"Thoroughly entertaining" Spectator
"[A] polyphonic EU satire" The Times


THE CAPITAL is a brilliantly entertaining satire, a crime story, a comedy of manners . . . and a wild pig chase.
This is the tale of a continent, a city and its inhabitants as they navigate their way through the confusing tangle of 21st-century life.

Brussels. A hive of tragic heroes, manipulative losers, involuntary accomplices. No wonder the European Commission is keen to improve its image.

The fiftieth anniversary of the European Commission approaches, and the Directorate-General for Culture is tasked with organising an appropriate celebration. When Fenia Xenopoulou's assistant comes up with a plan to put Auschwitz at the very centre of the jubilee, she is delighted. But she has neglected to take the other E.U. institutions into account.

Meanwhile the city is on the lookout for a runaway pig. And what about the farmers who take to the streets to protest against restrictions blocking the export of pigs to China?

See what the critics are saying about THE CAPITAL:

"Omniscient" New York Times
"An exceptional work" Kirkus Reviews
"Deliciously witty" Metro
"Elegant . . . brilliantly constructed" Die Zeit
"Robert Menasse is pioneering the genre of Eurolit" Financial Times


Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch

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Praise for The Capital: A "House of Cards" for the E.U.

  • "First-class satire . . .The Capital delivers, within a brilliant satirical fiction, thoughtful and instructive analysis of both the weaknesses in the EU that galvanise leavers and the strengths that motivate remainers. - Guardian

  • A traditional novel, broadshouldered, omniscient, almost Balzac-ian, but with terrorism part of a plot centered

  • satirically around an all-too-plausible Brussels idea. - New York Times

  • The Capital is a mischievous yet profound story about storytelling; about the art of shaping a narrative by finding resonances in the messy stuff of life . . . [An] unexpectedly delightful book about Brussels. - Economist

  • Menasse has a finely tuned satirical ear that easily criss-crosses borders . . . an intelligently written, pacy novel whose wide-ranging narratives ensure the momentum never wavers . . . Robert Menasse has produced an extraordinary piece of work - New European

  • A thoroughly entertaining fiction that serves both as a sort of campus satire and a novel of ideas . . . Menasse packs his Brussels with sharply-etched types . . . With its zest, pace and wit, Jamie Bulloch's translation serves him splendidly. - Spectator

  • A deliciously vicious - and timely - satire about the E.U. and the meaning of Europe today - Financial Times

  • [An] ambitious panorama that arrives amid the throes of Brexit and the Chinese Year of the Pig. Intelligent, fun, sad, insightful - an exceptional work. - Kirkus Reviews

  • An elegantly written, brilliantly constructed novel, full of discussion points and ideas - Die Zeit

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Robert Menasse

Robert Menasse was born in Vienna in 1954 and studied there before moving to Brazil, where he lived for six years as a professor of literature at the University of Sao Paulo. He is the author of several novels translated into English, including Wings of Stone and Reverse Thrust, and of a work of non-fiction, Enraged Citizens, European Peace and Democratic Deficits: Or Why the Democracy Given to Us Must Become One We Fight for (2016). In 2017 he was awarded the German Book Prize for Die Hauptstadt (The Capital).

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