by Veza Canetti
Set in Vienna in the 1930s, Yellow Street is a novel in “five scenes” that captures the despair, poverty, enforced idleness, and crumbling moral values of those years just before the political catastrophes that led to World War II. With an astute eye for irony and a sardonic humor, Veza Canetti weaves together stories about the people of Yellow Street, the home of the leather-merchants in the Leopoldstadt district. Living cheek by jowl on the bustling thoroughfare, crabbed merchants, impoverished bourgeois, canny profiteers, and out-and-out criminals alike find no privacy respected and no secrets possible. Canetti’s concern, however, is the victims––in the main seemingly helpless women and children, perhaps poor and exploited but grown streetwise and cagey, each protecting a core of integrity and dignity. In tribute to the original voice and commitment of his late wife, Nobel Prize-winner Elias Canetti has contributed a foreword to this volume.