Christina Maria Landerl: Time to Leave Town

Finalist Alpha Award

Christina Maria Landerl
Time to Leave Town


136pp (20,300 words)

Gudrun and Max were once a couple. Now Laura is having Max’s child. And Peter sometimes wishes everything were just like it used to be. Their home is Vienna, the city of pigeons, tourists, narrow cobbled streets and forgotten buildings.

Margot too once belonged here. But she has disappeared without a word of explanation; has left her beloved city in which she herself no longer exists, just like Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina. For one whole summer life goes on without her – or is something coming to an end?

As if through a camera lens, Christina Maria Landerl trails her characters through an intricate web of relationships, in which the narrator is both present and absent through her memories. VERLASS DIE STADT is a book about seeking and not finding, while also creating a multi-layered portrait of the city of Vienna; a mosaic of colours, scents and moods.


»With her debut VERLASS DIE STADT, Christina Maria Landerl is elegantly saying goodbye to her youth. (…) Sensationally unobtrusive Lander’s story is full of evocativeness: slim, confident and with a beautiful, translucent language. It makes you wanting to read more from this author.«

»A sparkling little book, which sets the world and the language on fire. (…) Landerl prefers a precise and clear language, yet she constructs a multilayered text without overloading it. She distributes little motifs over the pages and varies them artfully from chapter to chapter. (…) Life and literature constantly intermingle on these expeditions.«
Süddeutsche Zeitung

»A flawless debut. (…) We rarely find those books, in which every sentence is right to the point. Which are simply perfect.«

»An intense and densely wrought piece of prose. (…) This book reads like a literary road movie. (…) A fresh debut, laconical, disrespectful and headstrong.«
Die Presse

»Christina Maria Landerl interweaves the classic pop-novel with lyric poetry, into a melancholic and pleasureabe meditation on questions of identity. It is remarkable how she delivers, almost en passent and without clichés, a very dense portrait of the alternative culture in Vienna and Austria. Furthermore, the book is an excellent guide to the city of Vienna, both for the Viennese and non-Viennese.«
Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF)

»In Landerl's book, every word is straight to the point.«
Die Wienerin

»Compelling due to a rather unconventional narrative method and a language of simple, crystal-clear beauty.«
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten

»The real protagonist of this story is Vienna. Landerl has written an homage to the Austrian capital.«

»A splendid debut (...). It captivates with its laconically precise prose and its diverse playfulness with mentality, history and literary tradition of a city. (…) VERLASS DIE STADT is the psychograph of a janiform metropolis, captivatingly beautiful but repudiative, mentally balanced but still ignorant.«
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»For one summer, Vienna, as the setting, becomes a hell of heat, in which the decline of human vigor and climate collapse correspond. The former participant of the Bachmann-Prize Landerl arranged her ambitious literary project in a sophisticated dialectic.«

»It is a skillful literary game with the presence of the absence and with the things that are not said. We read about people who are only present when they have already left.«

»An impressive tribute to Vienna, and a wonderful debut.«

»From an incredibly clever and fresh perspective, Landerl manages to raise the tension from chapter to chapter, capturing the reader until the final page.«