qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

A far away country of which we know little

Book Review: Danube, by Claudio Magris
This book is very much an adventure in space and time. Written in the mid-1980s, Magris begins in West Germany, but most of the route of the Danube is in central and eastern Europe - Mitteleuropa as it is referred to here in Patrick Creagh's translation - and ends on the borders of the Soviet Union. Most of the sections are short - some only a paragraph or two - and venture geography, history, literature and politics about the places on and around the Danube. I may be over-interpreting, but I had the distinct impression of some degree of fellow-travelling on various Communist regimes (though interestingly the comments on Ceaucescu's Romania are barely guarded), perhaps more than the luxury of one who as a visitor can tolerate an unsavoury regime, but would not be comfortable living permanently under it. Magris predicted "the end of the world" if Yugoslavia were to fragment, and I suppose he was not far wrong on that (though maybe that was obvious to any interested observer at the time).
Tags: books, europe, travel
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