Image by Nigel’s Europe
1. Thomas Brussig, Heroes Like Us
translated by John Brownjohn
The riotous and laugh-aloud novel about Klaus Uhltzscht, the aspiring teenage Nobel laureate of East Berlin, who claims to be the man who breached the Berlin Wall.
‘She lived in Isländische Strasse, a side-street running off Bornholmer Strasse. Yes, that Bornholmer Strasse, the one with the checkpoint at the far end. Milling around in front of it were members of the so-called masses …and confronting them were a few border guards’
2. Tobias Rapp, Lost and Sound: Berlin, Techno and the Easyjet Set
translated by Paul Sabin
The brilliant and vivid portrayal of today’s Berlin clubbing scene – ‘where the reality principle of other cities is suspended in favour of a comprehensive lust principle.’
‘Whilst you’re waiting to be served at the bar, a Frenchman in his early twenties explains that he’s a techno DJ from Montpellier and that his coming to Berlin was like a Muslim’s pilgrimage to Mecca. On the stairway you get talking to a huge, half-naked skinhead who tells you with a smile that there is no other club like this, ‘not even in Russia’. At the edge of the dance floor you pick up the thread of a discussion about dub reggae where you left off a few weeks ago.’
3. Emine Sevgi Özdamar, ‘My Berlin’ in Berlin Tales
translated by Lyn Marven
Berlin’s largest group of residents of non-German origin are Turkish. German Turkish writer Emine Sevgi Ozdamar describes arriving back in the city.
‘At Zoo Station I waved to all the buses going past. I was in freedom and was pleased about the rain … It was as if back then when I had gone back to Istanbul Berlin had frozen like a photo to wait for me – with the long, tall trees, with the Gedachtniskirche, with the double-decker buses, with the corner pubs. Berliner Kindle beer, the crosses on the beer mats. Walls. Checkpoint Charlie. U-Bahn. S-Bahn. Cinema on Steinplatz. Abschied von gestern. Alexander Sluge. Bockwurst sausages. The Brecht theatre Berliner Ensembler. Arturo Ui. Canals. The Peacock Island. Tramps in the stations. Pea soup. Lonely women in Café Kranzler. Black forest gateau …’