Vienna in Short Stories by Rossitza Pfeifer is a short story collection published in 2018. Rossitza describes in her foreword that she wanted her first collection to be focused on Vienna, a city she has lived and worked in for fifteen years. And this collection is exactly that; a love note to the city.
Vienna in eight stories.
To describe this short story collection in a few words; it’s the ultimate cosy and cute experience. The collection starts with the story ‘An urban Village’ which displays the rivalry between Alberto and Dimitri, both shop owners and intent on becoming the best shops. It’s such a great introduction to the rest of the collection; it’s funny and gets you right into strolling the streets of Vienna.
Every story is totally different. The second story introduces us to a scene that borders on the magical realism side of things; ‘The Pigeon, The Pug and the Owl’, contemplating the meaning of freedom. A short number, but just as striking nonetheless. The sixth story ‘A Fiaker Ride’ in the book introduces again a new style; an interview with a writer and actress, taking place while driving the streets of Vienna in a fiaker.
My favourite story was ‘Parcel for two’ with an unlikely friendship between a mailman and an old lady with an army of pugs. This story made me laugh and it also had a core of warmth to it, a message to say that differences aren’t a defining factor to not form a friendship.
“He looked at her and smiled a crooked smile. ‘Isn’t this how some of the best love stories begin?'”
Rossitza has a way with creating characters that are simple at first glance, but everyone can recognise someone in them. The simplicity works; the stories are the perfect length. We discover surprising romances, unlikely friendships and characters looking for the meaning of life. All of these playing out with the backdrop of the beautiful Vienna.
All the desserts.
Despite all the stories being in completely different styles, the stories are linked together in Rossitza’s love for the desserts one can find in Vienna. All these characters love a good dessert. My favourite use of this being in ‘Food for Coins’. Where an inspector is called to research the disappearance of an important coin. The inspector compares everyone and everything to food; “He tells me he’s an intern. Kind of figures, poor devil is sweating like a Gouda cheese in the sun.” and is mostly concerned with what lunch he will have that day haha.
The collection can be compared to a good romantic comedy movie; fun, cozy, but enough story to bite your teeth in and make your heart warm up. Perfect for the colder season!
“Let your mind stroll across Vienna.”
I definitely did, Rossitza.
Thank you for sending this lovely collection my way.