Above: The richly marbled end-papers of "The Habsburg Manifesto", printed in Vienna, Austria.
The Habsburg Manifesto: How Democracy Ruined My Life and How I Got Revenge: Described by late, great superagent Jack Scovil of New York as an "illuminating addition to the theater of ideas", Habsburg is a study of the meaning of Time, asking the question: if every past were once the future and every future will one day be the past, what does this say about the meaning of "the present" and how is that defined? The narrative denouement of the work takes place over the course of a single night "when", as Mr. Scovil described the work, "two philosophically opposite brothers grapple over many of the timeless questions of value and meaning in life , and, through the intervention of a mysterious stranger and his lifestory, their rank cynicism is ingeniously transmuted to a profound, and what has to be called moral, truth. And this insight yields the genuinely startling recognition of what the true objective of government ought to be. All of this is constructed with considerable wit and flair, as well as compelling dramatic tension."
The Last Will and Testament of Western Man is a critical book for critical times, its theme summarized within the title itself. It is a novel-of-ideas; profound and humorous, philosophical and plain-spoken, the story of four wise, lost-cause romantics who are the kind of unforgettable characters that make a literary work timeless, often a cult classic. There is nothing on the market like this work today. Last Will is flamboyant in scope, obsessive in detail, and inspired by the traditions of Robert Musil, Julio Cortázar and Vladimir Nabokov in its love of language and its manic introspection, with satire and wit to lighten the load and carry the story. The narrative follows the lives of four brilliant eccentrics, friends from university days now in their late forties who are in dogged, hopeless pursuit of the Answer to the Question that has both directed and disastrously misguided their lives: Am I who I am ‘Because-of’ or ‘In-spite-of’ the circumstances of my life? It is a story about the classic philosophical dilemma of Becoming versus Being, one that has plagued the history of Western philosophy from pre-Socratics to neo-Platonists; from medieval Catholic-Scholastics to 20th century atheist-Existentialists. Then again, it may be that there is no actual distinction between the two. For, in the words of Antoine de St. Exupéry: “To live, is to slowly be born”; that is, To-Become is, in fact, the very act of Being, with no origin and no end—much like the mystery of the human soul itself.