I am trying to get up-to-date and catch up with the reviews I haven’t shared (I’m sure I’ll miss some but…) so I can start sharing them as I read the books. Today it’s the turn of a non-fiction book that travel and literature fans will love.
Berlin. A Literary Guide for Travellers by Paul Sullivan and Marcel Krueger.
An alternative guide for those looking for the literary heart of Berlin.
Located at the centre of the ever-changing politics of Europe, Berlin has a rich literary and creative history: from the socialist literary salons of 18th century Prussia and the rise of Expressionism in the 20th century to the explosion of creativity during the Weimar period and those who captured life on both sides of the divided city after the Second World War.
Written by local experts, this new guide offers travellers a glimpse into the compelling body of literature on Berlin, charting the bars, cafes and neighbourhoods in which much of it was created. Here travellers will discover the pub where Joseph Roth wrote The Radetzky March just a year before he left Berlin on the day that Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor, and the apartment where Nabokov spent some of the most productive years of his career. The authors also chart the up-and-coming neighbourhoods that are enticing writers and artists from all over the world today.
A Note From the Publisher
I.B.Tauris Literary Guides for Travellers were recently voted among the 24 best indie travel guides by FATHOM. Also in the series: Sicily, Florence and Tuscany, Tangier, Venice, Scotland, The French Riviera
‘A rich and learned companion for every lover of Berlin; bursting with anecdote and alive with history. A must.’
– Rory MacLean, author of Berlin: Imagine a City
A bit of information about the authors:
Paul Sullivan is a Berlin-based writer & travel photographer and the founder/editor of Slow Travel Berlin. His words and images have appeared in The Guardian, BBC, Sunday Times Travel, The Telegraph, Nat Geo UK and more, and he has written several books on music and travel, including the HG2 Berlin, Rough Guide to Berlin, National Geographic Walking Berlin and Wallpaper Berlin. You can check out his photography galleries here.
Paul on Facebook
Marcel is a writer, translator (German-English / English-German) and editor, and mainly writes non-fiction about places, their history, and the journeys in between.
His articles and essays have been published in the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, Reykjavik Grapevine, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Le Cool Dublin, Slow Travel Berlin, the Matador Network, CNN Travel and Spotted by Locals, amongst others. He has translated Wolfgang Borchert and Jörg Fauser, and his commercial translation clients include Gidsy, new talents – biennale cologne, University of Bielefeld, Fuhrwerkswaage Kunstraum and the Enveritas Group.
Together with Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle and a bunch of other great Irish writers Marcel currently holds the world record for ‘Most Authors Reading Consecutively From Their Own Books’ at the Irish Writers’ Centre.
In 2009, together with the other contributors, he won the Irish Blog Awards for their writings in the Dublin Community Blog.
Marcel is also a graduate of the Matador New Media School for Travelers.
Check his website for more information.
Thanks to NetGalley and to I.B.Tauris for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I voluntarily choose to review.
This is a book that does what it says on the tin, and much more. The authors share a great wealth of research that they divide by neighbourhoods, not only of the writers born in Berlin but also of those who emigrated to the city or visited and produced some significant piece of work inspired by their stay or travels. Providing a detailed historical background into the birth and development of the city, it also describes the most important buildings in each area, and their significance to culture, be it official culture or underground and resistance.
The book contains brief biographies of the authors it discusses, from the Grimm Brothers, Mark Twain, David Bowie and Iggy Pop, to writers published within the last five years. It illustrates the city with quotes and extracts from a variety of works, from poems, songs, novels… I’ve personally discovered fascinating stories of parks housing suicidal literary lovers, of breweries that became hubbubs of culture and neighbourhood life through the centuries, of resistance on both sides of the wall, of writers who continued to create no matter how dire their circumstances, of heroics and controversies, and of a city that has suffered and endured as much as its citizens. Destroyed and rebuilt, fragmented and reunited, it has provided fertile ground for literature and artistic creation through its history and this guide offers the reader a taster that is sure to encourage further exploration.
I haven’t visited Berlin personally, but I finished the book with an urgency to go, and with the feeling that anybody who visits Berlin taking this guide with them will see it through a myriad of perspectives and live an unforgettable experience.
I hope to read more of these literary guides and to be able to take them with me on future trips. Highly recommended to lovers of travel and literature alike.
Thanks to NetGalley, I.B. Tauris and to the authors for this book, thanks to all of your for reading, and remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!