Cautiously, Jakob Sagmeister roams the streets of Vienna. Nothing new escapes his attention, he registers every detail and can give a precise response to every query. Like most Viennese, Jakob hails from the provinces. His mother wanted him to be a musician but he became a teacher like his father, teaching high school history until forced to retire prematurely by unfounded accusations of sexually molesting a female pupil. All that remains for him are the everyday passions: coffee house, smoking, billiards, newspapers and infrequent visits to houses of ill-repute.
Jakob Sagmeister's journeys are a continuous tightrope walk between the desire to escape the daily routine and the security of the familiar, between courage and foolishness, a craving for life and the refusal of all human feeling. Magdalena Sadlon has given us the psychohistory of a terrifyingly normal outsider in her fascinating debut novel.