‘Where most of us can barely trace our own footprints in the mass of moments that are the stuff of experience, numerous and storyless as grains of sand on a beach, Chaudhuri delves in masterfully to lift out arcs, moods, treasures.’
‘A mysterious, subtle, haunting novel.’
An unnamed man arrives in Berlin as a visiting professor. It is a place fused with Western history and cultural fracture lines. He moves along its streets and pavements; through its department stores, museums and restaurants. He befriends Faqrul, an enigmatic exiled poet, and Birgit, a woman with whom he shares the vagaries of attraction. He tries to understand his white-haired cleaner. Berlin is a riddle-he becomes lost not only in the city but in its legacy.
Sealed off in his own solitude, and as his visiting professorship passes, the narrator awaits transformation and meaning. Ultimately, he starts to understand that the less sure he becomes of his place in the moment, the more he knows his way.
‘Chaudhuri has already proved that he can write better than just about anybody of his generation.’ Jonathan Coe