The Austrian Riveter: From DIE EINSTELLUNG by Doron Rabinovici, translated by Laura Radosh

In his latest novel, Doron Rabinovici dissects the connections between politics, media, and the language of images. The title of the book can be read in two ways. On the one hand, it’s about camera perspective, on the other hand, it’s about how the characters view the world. Die Einstellung is a novel full of contrasts, both in terms of the characters and the plot. While photographer August Becker is a drifter, the right-wing populist politician Ulli Popp makes everyone and everything do his bidding. The focus is on politics and the media and their mutual dependency. But Rabinovici intentionally refrains from any references to Austria’s current political or media landscape. He prefers to generalise, which does not mean he remains superficial. The juxtaposition of corruption and idealism is packed into a gripping, fast-paced story. Rabinovici does not want his readers to be bored. He needn’t worry. (EO)

Popp said he’s only saying what ordinary people think, because the elites are covering up a threat faced by the whole country, because there’s a tsunami coming that’s going to sweep it all away and whoever didn’t want to hear about it and instead lulled people into a false sense of security was betraying the interests of the entire nation. And then he said something that grabbed the attention of most of those present: ‘fake news,’ Popp said, and gave a short smug smile, as if he didn’t really mean to insult the present company, as if the words were simply a pet name, an ironic witticism – and in that moment August released the shutter and snapped a series of shots. Then he paused for a second, to check the images on the display. Just an automatic glance, a routine inspection to see if he needed to adjust the settings, but in the moment he looked at the shots something occurred that had never happened to him before. August was repulsed by his own photos. That was not what he’d been trying to capture. And suddenly all he wanted was to get out of there. He weaved his way through the crush of his colleagues from various media outlets, pushed past someone with a camera and sidestepped around Marion Ettl’s legs, who gave him such an astonished look that he immediately tripped over a radio reporter’s microphone cable. At the other end of the room, Popp, too, noticed the commotion and glanced in his direction, but by then August was already out on the street and a second later didn’t know what had gotten into him. But he didn’t want to go back in, past everyone again, and there was no real reason to photograph Popp today anyway. He wasn’t under deadline and nobody had sent him to this press conference. He’d gone of his own volition, because he’d felt like he had to prepare for the task. What a ridiculous idea! Since when did he need studies to do his job well? Maybe Selma had somehow led him into it.

By Doron Rabinovici

Translated by Laura Radosh

From Die Einstellung (‘The Viewpoint’)

by Doron Rabinivici

Introduced by Erkan Osmanović

Translated by Laura Radosh

Published by Suhrkamp Verlag (2022)

First published by Literaturhaus Wien

Read The Austrian Riveter here or order your paper copy from here.

Buy books from The Austrian Riveter through the European Literature Network’s The Austrian Riveter page.

Doron Rabinovici is an Israeli-Austrian writer, historian and essayist. He was born in Tel Aviv and moved to Vienna aged three. He has been awarded numerous literary prizes, tackling his identity as a Jew born in Israel, living in Vienna and writing in German. He has published several major novels, from Andernorts (‘Elsewhere’) to his political satire, Die Einstellung (‘The Viewpoint’).

Laura Radosh is a Berlin-based freelance translator of mostly art and academic texts, including numerous contributions to scholarly journals and anthologies as well as museum catalogues.

Category: The Austrian RiveterTranslations


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