Sunday, 29 March 2009

NYT Goes B

I'm beginning to feel like the FBI, what with all the anonymous tip-offs coming in. So do check out Maureen Freely on translating Orhan Parmuk (not strictly a German book, but thanks anyway) in the Washington Post.

And more pertinently, you can read an interesting article by Nicholas Kulish, former Krautgarden participant, author of Last One In and NYT Berlin correspondent, on the writing and readings culture in Berlin. For the "cultured traveller", heh heh. What I found interesting was the gossip on Adler & Söhne, an office shared by seven writers in Prenzlauer Berg - including Kulish's buddy Thomas Pletzinger (Funeral of a Dog is forthcoming in English, trans. Ross Benjamin) and Sasa Stanisic (longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize with How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, trans. Anthea Bell). Kulish writes:

Seven young writers, including Mr. Pletzinger, rented a space in the former eastern part of the city to challenge the notion that their profession is, by necessity, a solitary one. They opened a storefront where they can work side by side, calling it Adler & Söhne Literaturproduktion, a kind of highbrow sweatshop for the stitching together of sentences.

Nice. The idea that the shop might once have housed the tobacconist who sold Heiner Müller his cigars says a lot about urban development in Berlin - including the fact that those who unwittingly profit from the changes feel nostalgic for what was there before. Brecht's tobacconist on Chausseestraße also went bust a few years ago. I believe that shop is also now an office, but I'll check in the morning.

Update: The former tobacconist on Chausseestraße is now some kind of mysterious gallery or office space with frosted glass windowpanes. The former academic bookshop is empty and the former Bookshop in the Brecht House is a bistro selling fresh pasta and wine, having given up the idea of being an upmarket (and rather rude) newsagent's. What would Helene Weigel say?

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