It's Carnival time 2012, and the Slovenian city of Maribor is European Capital of Culture. In an attempt to maximize profit, local politicians and showman peddle every possible art form. Amidst the hype, dramatist Adam Bely and Cuban-Austrian journalist Rosa Portero pursue a secret mission: to track down and overthrow the sinister octopus of thirteen selected persons that seems to be in control. On the way, they encounter a variety of important citizens, all entangled in a web of corruption and lies.
In the tradition of Bulgakov, Gogol and Kafka Aleš Šteger lets the forces of good and evil collide in this grandiose literary thriller. This is a debut novel filled with striking personae, haunting images and a grotesque plot. It proves, in the end, to be a journey into the heart of a European darkness.
'A sophisticated mix of fantasy-thriller and political satire.'
"On one level, it is a fun whodunnit as Bely and Portero try to track down the member of the Great Orc. However it is also a hugely funny book, mocking all and sundry, including the head of the Terminal 12 programme at the Marx City Gallery, who happens to be called Aleš Šteger. Above all, of course, it is another brilliant East European novel that uses massively exaggerated ribald humour to damn the ruling elite and political corruption of the country."
John Alvey, The Modern Novel
"Šteger’s fantastical Maribor is striving to be an ideal model of perfected sterility, but it is a false façade—as false as the masks donned by revellers during Carnival. Corruption runs deep and close to the surface."
Joe Schrieber, Roughghosts
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