notes on dutch literature

Roads to Berlin

In Review on December 6, 2012 at 10:54 PM

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/1adc7396-0ca0-11e2-a73c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2EZGuSck4
“As Jan Morris is to Venice or Trieste, as Edmund White to Paris and Claudio Magris to the Danube, so is Cees Nooteboom to Berlin”. Rebecca K. Morrison, Independent

Roads to Berlin maps the changing landscape of Germany, from the period before the fall of the Wall to the present. Written and updated over the course of several decades, an eyewitness account of the pivotal events of 1989 gives way to a perceptive appreciation of its difficult passage to reunification. Nooteboom’s writings on politics, people, architecture and culture are as digressive as they are eloquent; his innate curiosity takes him through the landscapes of Heine and Goethe, steeped in Romanticism and mythology, and to Germany’s baroque cities. With an outsider’s objectivity he has crafted an intimate portrait of the country to its present day.

Roads to Berlin contains a promise of sorts: that, once tasted, you will always find a road back to a city which will be familiar and yet not. Beautifully translated by Laura Watkinson with a helpful glossary and a bibliography to escort the reader on further journeys, this is a delightful book.

“Roads to Berlin goes some way to explaining why Nooteboom is so highly regarded . . . Roads to Berlin is thoughtful, meditative and strong when he ponders on time, memory and history. There are also diversions into Germany’s literature and theatre, politics and people . . . Nooteboom’s insightful prose is, as the book’s subtitle promises, a luxurious detour in the lands and history of Germany” Ben East, Metro

Read here the blog post by Nooteboom’s translator Laura Wilkenson:
Laura Watkinson: Discovering Cees Nooteboom’s Berlin

Roads to Berlin is published by MacLehose Press, UK

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