Back to Berlin. This article reviews three recent novels set in the city, and uses that format as an excuse to make some sharp, but accurate, comments on us aimless expats:
The Berlin of the present exists in a state of rare double-consciousness, hurtling into the future while keeping a steady grasp on its past. From a writerly perspective, the coexistence of multiple selves is inspiring\u2014what writer wouldn\u2019t want to summon so many layers of injury and experience when creating a character? Aridjis and Winger have both, for better or worse, written books representative of their expat brethren\u2014the city is just one more instrument in the arsenal of their (our?) solipsism. It can\u2019t possibly stay that way forever. As manicured greens and glassed-in apartment complexes crop up in all those empty lots, they need not represent loss or erasure, but simply the city moving on.