Die Hauptstadt, by Robert Menasse

Menasse cover

‘The Capital’

Suhrkamp, September 2017

Shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2017

Sample Translation


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.


Born in 1954 in Vienna, Robert Menasse studied German language and literature, philosophy and political science in Vienna, Salzburg and Messina. Today he lives in Vienna and Amsterdam as a novelist and essayist.


The jury’s comments:

Robert Menasse weaves together eras, nations and institutions into a unique panoramic view of Europe – criminally driven, steeped in philosophy yet always fundamentally ironic. Very much in the tradition of Balzac’s idea of a critical approach to the present, Die Hauptstadt is a novel that contains everything about our era without ever being zeitgeisty.