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Neither a travel book, nor a vast prose poem, nor a history, nor philosophy, nor voyage of discovery, but often all at once - Independent on Sunday


In this fascinating journey Claudio Magris, whose knowledge is encyclopaedic and whose curiosity limitless, guides his reader from the source of the Danube in the Bavarian hills through Austro-Hungary and the Balkans to the Black Sea. Along the way he raises the ghosts that inhabit the houses and monuments - from Ovid to Kafka and Canetti - and in so doing sets his finger on the pulse of Central Europe, the vital crucible of a culture that draws on influences of East and West, of Christendom and Islam.


Impeccable... Magris, a guide of enormous modesty, has not only read everything: he has been everywhere, met everybody

Nicholas Shakespeare, Arts and Books Review

There is so much to praise about this extraordinary book... Irresistably enjoyable

Mark Thompson, Literary Review

Not simply a masterpiece of travel; it is an odyssey... A splendid book, beautifully translated


A uniquely stimulating and individual portrait of the heart of Europe

Colin Thubron, Sunday Telegraph

This book is full of wonder and delights...Magris writes beautifully; he seems to have read everything. His reading has not made just clever but wise. On almost every page there are passages that make the heart life... Danube is a masterpiece

John Banville

This is the best introduction to the culture of central Europe, its genius and its tragedy...a work of great originality, which builds up to a mosaic of spectacle, incident and reflection from which the personalities of the narrator and the Danubian lands emerge

Daily Telegraph

Erudite and original

New York Review of Books

Magris proves a gracious, erudite, engaging and fair-minded companion on a journey no reader will forget

Irish Times

His forte is a wealth of literary and historical allusions from Austrian, French, Italian and German sources, which makes this book not only a treasure chest but also a profoundly perceptive study of central European history... wonderfully stimulating and constantly surprising

The Times

Like the river itself, Magris carries all along with him. Philosophy, war, natural history and politics are blended together with a mixture of curiosity, stylishness and all-encompassing knowledge


Italo Calvino described a classic as a book to which one can return and always find something new. Such a book is Magris’s Danube. In another 30 years we will find the same words and yet another book, fresh revelations divining a different world, a river that never ends, forever lighting out for the mythical territory of freedom.

Richard Flanagan, Guardian

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    January 3, 2017

    Vintage Classics

    432 pages

    RRP $30.00

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  • EBook


    January 11, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    432 pages

    Online retailers

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