Excerpt from The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin

by Kip Wilson

The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson X
The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2022, 416 pages

    Mar 2023, 432 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

February 1932

February 25, 1932


I've looked forward to


the orphanage run by
the Gray Order of
Sisters of
the Holy Elisabeth
for eight long years

and even though I'm walking
away today with only a
handful of Reichsmark coins
in my pocket and


else except the rough sack of a
dress and woolen coat I'm wearing
I'm marching
out the door


When Gretchen left
six months
one week
and two days ago

she didn't

look back
come back
drop me a line

not even a single
Liebe Hilde

though she promised
she would.


Gretchen was always
full of

plans to make it big on
the silver screen like
Marlene Dietrich

plans to wrap
herself with pearls, paint
herself with lipstick

plans I should have seen
include me.


I've been running
through my own options
ever since Gretchen left to
audition for the next
Fritz Lang picture

where she's probably working now
which is why she probably
never wrote (probably).

I can't work in
the pictures, not with my
towering height
skinny limbs
mud-brown hair
crooked teeth

not that I have any interest
in getting in front of a
camera, director, audience

for any
at all.

No, my plans are much
less lofty

anything that will earn
me some money
for a bed,
four walls of my
own, a small
corner I can
finally call


I'm heading toward
the shops on Müllerstraße

just a few blocks away from
the orphanage

but home appears
in my thoughts, halting
me in my tracks

the neighborhood of Schöneberg
the small flat I shared with Mutti
the sound of her velvety voice
whispering Hildegard as she
kissed me good night.

Home for my first ten years.

Nothing like the
sterile rows of
beds, the long tables and
hard benches for
meals of gray porridge,
stale bread, watery broth.


I take a step forward, then
stop once more. Surely
there are as many opportunities
in Schöneberg as here.

I clatter down the stairs
to the U-Bahn, surrender
twenty-five Pfennig, enter
the train that whisks
me clear across Berlin to
my old neighborhood.

I'd rather start off in a place that
already feels like home.


I'm a ghost, stepping

off the train
out of the station
across Nollendorfplatz.

No one notices me gliding
down the block toward my old
neighborhood, my invisible mother
beside me, clutching my hand, leading
the way along Kleiststraße
toward Tauentzienstraße to
Herr Koch's Gemüseladen, where

Excerpted from The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson. Copyright © 2022 by Kip Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Versify. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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