Candace's Reviews > The Capital

The Capital by Robert Menasse
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it was amazing

"The Capital" is a terrific read, packed with great characters, an intriguing plot . . .it just grabs you. It's sharp, funny, and moving.

And then there are the pigs.

Yes, it's the Year of the Pig, there's a pig, or maybe even pigs, on the loose in Brussels, and there are factions in the EU that want to break loose and export pig parts to China. "The Capital" of the title is Brussels which is the capital of the EU and where the characters from all over Europe meet. For Americans, the European Union is sort of a mysterious thing and this novel does a lot to explain how it works, why it works, and how it doesn't.

There are lots of plots, each one worthy of a book of it's own. But the overarching story comes from the Department of Culture, where a plan is forming to name Auschwitz as the birthplace of the Commission, where in the name of "never again" European nations would join to emphasize union as opposed to nationalism. There's the idea of inviting all the survivors of Auschwitz still living, except no one has a list. There's that murder at the Atlas hotel that has vanished from the records, an elderly economist with the most radical philosophy about changing the world, a real Auschwitz survivor, and the rampaging pig.

I was sorry when "The Capital" ended. Kudos to Robert Menasse and translator Jamie Bulloch for this tart, smart novel.
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Finished Reading
April 6, 2019 – Shelved

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Christy Cowell A witty review by Candace


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