The City: Discoveries in the Interior of Vienna
The City… is a collection of essays documenting Gerhard Roth’s extensive exploration of the city of Vienna. He takes the reader behind the scenes of the Natural History Museum and the Austrian National Library. He reports on the extensive art and treasure collections of the Habsburgs, visits the Josephinum, the historic Vienna School of Surgeons with its Museum of Forensic Medicine, and the famous Clock Museum. Roth complements these essays, which explore humanity’s fight against transience, with reports of his visits of the institutes for the blind and the deaf and the refugee camp of Traiskirchen. In these essays, he portrays the challenges facing humanity in a new global world.
Dr. Konrad Feldt, a bibliophile and an employee of the Austrian National Library, discovers the theft of a rare handwritten Mozart musical score. The culprit, a fellow employee, hands over the score to Feldt and commits suicide. Feldt decides not to return it to the library, but to follow through with his colleague’s plan to sell it to a rich collector from Japan. Under the pretext of a lecture tour, he travels to Japan to meet the collector. The rarity and value of the manuscript complicates the transaction, however, attracting criminals. And when Feldt arrives at the collector’s shop he finds him dying, the victim of an assault. Feldt finds himself now a murder suspect. Embedded in the detective story plot are rich descriptions of the Japanese traditions, cityscapes, and landscapes, and the constant danger of earthquakes and volcano eruptions.
The journalist Viktor Gartner travels to Greece in order to write a story about the Greek Orthodox cloisters on the holy mountain Athos. The real reason for his trip however, is to find the Serbian author Goran R., whom he had met during the war in Bosnia and who is rumored to be hiding in the cloister Chilandar. Goran R. has witnessed a massacre similar to that committed by General Mladić in Srebrenica, and he fears for his life. Gartner’s search for Goran R. is accompanied by a series of mysterious, disorienting, and ominous events. One of Gartner’s contacts is murdered; others want nothing to do with him after they find out the real reason for his trip. The journey takes Gartner across the Balkans to Istanbul, where he finally is able to locate Goran R.
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