Here in Berlin

Here in Berlin

A Novel

Book - 2017
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An unnamed Visitor travels to Berlin with a camera looking for reckonings of her own. The city itself is a character--vibrant and postapocalyptic, flat and featureless except for its rivers, its lakes, its legions of bicyclists. Here in Berlin she encounters a people's history: the Cuban teen taken as a POW on a German submarine only to return home to a family who doesn't believe him; the young Jewish scholar hidden in a sarcophagus until safe passage to England is found; the female lawyer haunted by a childhood of deprivation in the bombed-out suburbs of Berlin who still defends those accused of war crimes; a young nurse with a checkered past who joins the Reich at a medical facility more intent to dispense with the wounded than to heal them; and the son of a zookeeper at the Berlin Zoo, fighting to keep the animals safe from both war and an increasingly starving populace.
Publisher: Berkeley, California :, Counterpoint,, [2017]
ISBN: 9781619029590
Branch Call Number: FICTION GAR
Characteristics: 208 pages ; 24 cm


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Mar 26, 2018

Ordinary writing. Very short linked stories.

Nov 23, 2017

Really liking this novel a lot. I'm about halfway through; one can start and stop anywhere and then pick it up again. Vignettes, pieces of a Berliner's life, stories told to Dear Visitor, our narrator.

This is a quote from the LA Review of Books (which is a journal I like and peruse): " . . . Here in Berlin is an impeccable linguistic exercise in narratology and a brilliant exploration of the various identities we adhere to in metropolitan environments. García successfully rehumanizes a German postwar trauma of a populace that for so long coped with the making anonymous of people through genocide, the deadening speed of its capitalist structures, and the oppressive world of East Berlin. . . " (10/17 edition online)

I love the premise, the narrator listening and the storytellers having significant and meaningful tales to tell. I lived in a lot of countries in the 90s and 00s teaching ESL and I heard stories, oh did I hear stories.

P.S. a few days later: be forewarned--there are some horrible cruelty stories in this novel.

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