Public official Fenia Xenopoulou is tasked with brushing up the image of the European Commission. She hires the consultant Martin Susman to come up with an idea – an idea that ends up rousing a spectre from the past, rocking the boat of the EU institutions. Commissioner Brunfaut is forced to let a murder case rest for political reasons. Alois Erhart, Professor Emeritus of Economics, is expected to pronounce words on the future of Europe that may be his last. And what is Brussels up to? Looking for a name – for the pig that’s on the loose in the streets.
The humane is always worth striving for; it is never reliably given: With his novel “Die Hauptstadt” (“The Capital”), Robert Menasse vividly shows that this also applies to the European Union. With great dramaturgical skill, he light-handedly digs into the deepest layers of this world we call our own – making unmistakably clear that, among other things, the economy alone will not be able to guarantee us a peaceful future. Those who are undermining the peace project that is Europe are among us – not infrequently, “the others” are we ourselves. With “Die Hauptstadt”, Robert Menasse has achieved the goal he set for himself: In the novel, contemporaneity is realised with such literary ability that contemporaries will recognise themselves in it and those born later will be better able to understand these times.