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.
About the author
Amit Chaudhuri is the author of seven previous novels, one work of nonfiction, and a number of books of literary criticism. His many honors include the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; most recently, he became the first recipient of the Infosys Prize for Humanities-Literary Studies. A contributor to the London Review of Books, Granta, and The Times Literary Supplement, he is currently professor of contemporary literature at the University of East Anglia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is also an internationally acclaimed musician, and lives in Calcutta, India, and Norwich, England.