The System of Vienna: From Heaven Street to Earth Mound Square

German & Austrian Literature Series
Gert Jonke
Translated by Vincent Kling

An astonishing and fantastical autobiographical novel—reminiscent of Italo Calvino and Laurence Sterne—The System of Vienna details Jonke’s travels through Vienna by streetcar, reporting the bizarre and frustrating encounters he experiences as he progresses—and meanwhile moving not just from trolley-stop to trolley-stop, but through life as well, from innocence to disillusionment, birth to death. Jonke meets a paranoiac fish wholesaler who believes he is directing all of Austrian politics from his little stall, a stamp collector in such deadly earnest he hopes to be appointed to a professorship in philately, and a compulsive talker who has developed a rigorous economic philosophy out of the most common objects to be found in a Vienna neighborhood. Slowly increasing the comic and fantastic elements in his story until they overwhelm all pretense to autobiography—culminating in a strangely touching love scene between Jonke and a caryatid—The System of Vienna reminds us that the very act of describing a life turns it into fiction.

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Translated by Vincent Kling
Publication: German & Austrian Literature Series
Format: Paperback / softback
Number of pages: 120
ISBN-13: 9781564785503
GTIN13: 9781564785503
Publication date: 12/1/2009
Language: eng
List price: $12.95