Here in Berlin: Book summary and reviews of Here in Berlin by Cristina Garcia

Here in Berlin

by Cristina Garcia

Here in Berlin by Cristina Garcia
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2017
    224 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A meditation on war and mystery, this an exciting new work by one of our most gifted novelists, one that seeks to align the stories of the past with the stories of the future.

Here in Berlin is a portrait of a city through snapshots, an excavation of the stories and ghosts of contemporary Berlin - its complex, troubled past still pulsing in the air as it was during World War II. Critically acclaimed novelist Cristina García brings the people of this famed city to life, their stories bristling with regret, desire, and longing.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The novel's many excellent characters and their stories combine to create a sense of a city where, as an amnesiac photojournalist puts it, the ghosts 'aren't confined to cemeteries.'" - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. It is beautifully written in a fluent and evocative prose. It is the story of how people live with their pasts. A stunning collection of memories, snippets, and specters." - Kirkus

"Unfortunately, most of García's vignettes are only a few pages long, leaving readers no chance of getting to know the emotions or details of the characters' lives. This novel touches on complex themes such as exile, memory, and life in wartime but without much depth." - Library Journal

"A brilliant novel, by turns hilarious and haunting, gorgeous and brutal, entertaining and profound...Here in Berlin demonstrates exactly why García has so long been an international treasure, one who never ceases to astonish." - Carolina De Robertis, author of Perla and Gods of Tango

"Here in Berlin is a dream visit to that City you know. To visit this City is to be filled with dark surprise and illuminated insight. It is to be infused with tragic wonder and relentless hope. Will you get home safely? You will. But you will never be the same. And that is the power of this novel by master storyteller, Cristina García. Visitor? No Longer." - Denise Chávez, author of The King and Queen of Comezón

"Here in Berlin is a haunting portrait of place told through the shifting, kaleidoscopic stories of its people. History's long and mournful shadow follows us into contemporary lives full of secrets, regrets, and proud enduring. By the end, we are all sifting through the rubble of the twentieth century to find shards of our own buried past." - Ana Menendez, author of In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd

"A book about endings and new beginnings, of how the past affects our present, the long shadows still cast by the Second World War, and how stories enrich the world and make up a city where the personal and the political are revealed in all their great complexities. García has written a symphony to what has passed away and to what remains and endures." - Micheline Aharonian Marcom, author of A Brief History of Yes

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Cristina García is the author of seven novels, including: Dreaming in Cuban - a Finalist for the National Book Award whose 25th Anniversary edition is coming in March 2017, The Agüero Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck, The Lady Matador's Hotel, and King of Cuba. García has edited two anthologies, Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature and Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature. García's work has been translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers' Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA grant, among others. García has taught at universities nationwide. Recently, she completed her tenure as University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos and as Visiting Professor at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

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