Decapolis: Tales from 10 Cities
Published by Comma Press
Decapolis is a book which imagines the city otherwise. Bringing together ten writers from across Europe, it offers snapshots of their native cities, freezing for a moment the characters and complexities that define them. Ten cities: diverse, incompatible, contradictory – in everything from language to landscape.
In Amsterdam every Friday night, a lonely woman cooks for her men – a circle of middle-aged bachelors. In Barcelona, a self-regarding poet tries to capture the essence of the city in an eleven-word lyric. In Reykjavik, an unemployed journalist wanders through the deserted buildings of the newspaper he once wrote for. In all cases, these are cities in states of transition: Zagreb in the shadow of the Balkan conflict; Manchester on the cusp of social and economic change; Berlin with half its industrial buildings abandoned like the Mary Celeste.
The ultimate ‘untranslatability’ of these cities’ experiences is never in question, and yet through these fractured, isolated glimpses – chance encounters, snatches of conversation, local TV bulletins – something quite unlikely begins to emerge: a commonality grounded in the fleeting and the momentary, a continuum, perhaps, of urban experience.
Featuring: Larissa Boehning (Berlin), David Constantine (Manchester), Arnon Grunberg (Amsterdam), Emil Hakl (Prague), Amanda Michalopoulou (Athens), Empar Moliner (Barcelona), Aldo Nove (Milan), Jacques Réda (Paris), Dalibor Šimpraga (Zagreb), Ágúst Borgþór Sverrisson (Reykjavik).
"A stellar collection."
"Europe is heavy with history and the trace left by cataclysm and upheaval. These are present in these tales, and yet coexist with a kind of wry and knowing playfulness."
"Acquaint yourself with these fresh and varied new literary voices."
The Independent on Sunday
"A fine streetwise cacophony."
"Manchester is fast becoming the UK's most influential centre for short story writing, and much of this is due to the passionate championing of the genre by Ra Page, founder of Comma Press."