Cristina Garcia, Here in Berlin
Garcia’s new novel is ingeniously structured, veering from poignant to shocking. The Visitor, her Cuban-American narrator, comes to Berlin in 2013 in search of stories. And she finds them in unexpected places – parks, museums, outdoor cafes, the aquarium, along the Spree River. She learns of the fate of the 3,715 animals in the Berlin Zoo during World War Two from the zookeeper’s son, and listens to a child born of the Nazi breeding programme. She also speaks to a Berliner whose only time outside the country was to study “the oratorical styles of black preachers in the South” for Nazi propaganda purposes and to a Cuban held as a PoW on a German submarine. Here in Berlin has echoes of WG Sebald, but its vivid, surprising images of wartime Berlin are Garcia’s own.
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