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In Defense of Linz

In Defense of Linz

Mentioning the name of Austria’s third largest city often stirs that famous, but peculiar saying, “In Linz beginnt’s.” Although initially a response to the insulting “In Linz stinkt’s” – time honored epithet for the country’s traditional center of heavy industry – this optimistic adage always seemed to merit the question, “Just what, exactly, begins in […]

Princelings at Table

Princelings at Table

One of the best ways to fight a winter depression is an elegant dinner with a friend at fine restaurant, little more rewarding than prandial pleasures in a luxurious atmosphere to wipe out winter melancholic. So, in mid January, with spirits desperately needing a lift, I wrapped myself up well in my winter coat and […]

Book Review: Paul Hofmann’s The Viennese and The Spell of the Vienna Woods

“The capital of Gemütlichkeit, of hand kissing and the waltz, of coffeehouses and wine taverns in the green, of whipped cream and the annual opera ball, has long had one of highest suicide rates in the world,” Paul Hofmann pointed out wryly in the introduction to his extraordinary1988 portrait of his native city, The Viennese: […]

Ultimately Pinter-esque: The Sound of Silence

Ultimately Pinter-esque: The Sound of Silence

There are few writers of any era whose singular voice – Dickensian, Proustian, Orwellian or Kafkaesque – has given birth to an adjective all its own. Harold Pinter, who died on December 24 at the age of 78 after a long fight with cancer, was one of these, a man whose stature as the most […]

Literary Events: Feb. 2009

STEWART O’NAN: SONGS FOR THE MISSING   Stewart O’Nan’s award-winning fiction includes Snow Angels, and A Prayer for the Dying.  Granta named him one of America’s Best Young Novelists. This is his first visit to Austria. Robert Reinagl will be reading the German translation Alle, alle lieben dich (Rowohlt, 2009) Feb. 6, 20:00 Restaurant Steindl 6., […]

Book Review: Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals

Book Review: Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals

When Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln was published in the United States in 2005, neither the reviewers, nor early readers, nor Kearns Goodwin herself could have known that just three years later, the book would become a touchstone for the presidential campaign, victory and administration of Barack Hussein […]

Nicholas T. Parsons’ Literary Vienna

Nicholas T. Parsons’ Literary Vienna

It wasn’t quite freezing in the oldest neighborhood of this ancient city as I stepped inside Shakespeare & Company Booksellers, tucked into a back street behind the medieval Ruprechts Church near Schwedenplatz. Arriving at the venerable bookstore without a second to spare, I gave the heavy door a good pull – it clattered loudly against […]

Consuming Love, Or What’s Left of It

Consuming Love, Or What’s Left of It

Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day? Will you buy roses, go for a dinner in a luxurious restaurant, buy a little teddy bear with a big red heart? Or will you boycott that kitschy capitalistic product of American culture, condemning it as crass celebration consumption? Or will you simply be ambivalent? Well, don’t be. As […]

Riches to Rags

Beautifully-shot and very well-cast, the new German/American co-production of Buddenbrooks is a fine costume drama about the downfall of a family from a proud position of wealth, high social and civic status to virtual ruin. It is immensely watchable, if sad. Directed by Heinrich Breber and filmed on location in the north German city of […]

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