Berlin Trilogy

Posted on | May 26, 2010 | 1 Comment

I have an article this month in N1BR, n+1’s online book review supplement.  It’s on three novels set in Berlin, where I lived for most of last year.  It’s also a meditation on how I managed to spend so many months doing very very little. safe online casino slots

The Berlin U-Bahn, like the New York subway, is a surprisingly easy place to feel alone. People avoid eye contact in the crush, and the German announcer’s voice has a lilting softness at odds with the language’s guttural reputation. For the year I lived in Berlin, the U-Bahn was where I spent time in my own head, easing into the day. A life-long city-dweller, I was used to the tacit communal pact of public privacy, a pact that made it okay to treat the worn vinyl benches like the armchair in my living room. It was unusual when, riding the U1 through Kreuzberg one day, my faux-solitude was interrupted by the onset of paranoia. I couldn’t stop worrying that people were appalled by what they were seeing over my shoulder. I was reading The Kindly Ones, Jonathan Littell’s ghastly novel of Nazi sadomasochism. The issue wasn’t so much the brutality of the novel—though it certainly didn’t help matters—as that I was reading about Nazis, in English, in Berlin. I was afraid of being taken for one of those tourist voyeurs, unable to see Germany for anything but swastikas. [More here.]

Comments

One Response to “Berlin Trilogy”

  1. ako
    March 5th, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

    Aaahhhh! Berlin a great place to do very little!