‘We are moving across the landscape in a morning dream, a grey-green misted landscape punctuated by churches and palaces. The spires look gothic, Romanesque then eastern, a reminder that the Ottomans were once at the gates and stayed in the sense that an absence can become a presence. The horizon dissolves into the sky until it is impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins and we’d be lost without the train-tracks, guiding us east. The land vanishes altogether as we enter the tunnels and an underwater pressure forms in the head like the mountain closing up around the Hamlin children. I flick through the history book. Wolves have been sighted within the walls of Vienna. The English ambassador disappears on his journey home. Mozart is buried in a mass grave. My business, if I have one, is elsewhere; to track down the ghost of the poet Georg Trakl…’
I’ve written an essay on our recent venture to Austria, and into the past, for the wonderful Gorse Journal (a copy of which you should purchase immediately, given it’s exceptional). Thanks to Susan Tomaselli, Will Stone and Christiana Spens, three under-acknowledged forces for all that good in literature. You can read the piece in full here.