Sunday, February 8, 2009


Small discount shops line Vienna’s busiest streets, the word NOVELS is written in large bold letters above their entrance doors. To their customers, literature is a provision, just like TOBACCO and LIQUOR in the stores to the left and right of the dime-novel shops. It hardly matters that no great literature is offered here. The novel survives because it is life’s companion. This has not been true for plays for example for a long time. The theater summons people still convinced it has something important to say. We no longer believe this gesture’s self-importance. In contrast the novel does not draw attention to itself. It sits on the shelf, together with five hundred others and consents to be undiscovered, unread. For that reason, we always seek it out. (translated from WILHELM GENAZINO, published in, Voume2, Number 2)