The story begins in Vienna. A pedestrian has been murdered in front of a photo shop. A crowd of curious onlookers and neighbors gathers at the scene. And the entire personnel of the quarter – the scoundrel Ladislaus Stangl and the monstrous foster mother Ludovica Hasentütl, the pious pastor Hutwelker and the prostitute Josefine, popologist Karl Knechtl and detective Ponstingl-Ribisl – takes part in hunting the murderer, culminating in a veritable orgy of no-holds-barred imagination. Both playful and meticulous, Bachmann prize-winner Franzobel spreads his episodic threads leading, eventually, to the 28 steps of Rome's Holy Staircase, linking the abysses of his less-than-holy family into an unearthly pandemonium that befalls the Eternal City like a latter-day apocalypse. Franzobel's new novel is a furious farce and a tour-de-force through an increasingly absurd reality that can no longer be addressed by means of the conventional epic.