Farcical power plays in Brussels and a pig on the loose … this German bestseller has sardonic fun with the European project
Media organisations report alarming falls in circulation or ratings for editions dominated by Brexit. So there is a risk that fatigue with the subject of the European Union will reduce our appetite for Robert Menasse’s 2017 German-language bestseller – a satirical novel about the workings of the multinational Brussels bureaucracy – which is timed to appear in English just ahead of the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU.
But if the enervating news coverage does depress the book’s prospects, it would be cruelly unfair to Menasse, a 64-year-old Austrian whose work spans novels, poetry and political theory. 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.