Daniel Juckes reviews 'City of Exiles' by Stuart Braun

Daniel Juckes reviews 'City of Exiles' by Stuart Braun

City of Exiles: Berlin from the Outside In

by Stuart Braun

£18 pb, 304 pp, 9780994326805

Berlin is built on sand, says Stuart Braun in City of Exiles; it is 'never far away from darkness'. It is a city of tolerance, which exerts a psychic pull for anarchists, artists, and those who become Wahlberliners: 'the people who choose to live in Berlin.'

City of Exiles' own sandy foundations make it difficult to find anything solid to hold onto in the early chapters, where Braun is more historian than journalist. There is little narrative other than a kind of wading forwards through time, split with reflections on the city. Braun introduces a cavalcade of exiles and luminaries who hang around for a paragraph and then fall back into Berlin. This idea of names and faces surfacing and sinking runs through City of Exiles, both in the art Braun discusses and the anecdotes he relates. It is an 'image montage' that can suffocate.

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Published in November 2015, no. 376
Daniel Juckes

Daniel Juckes

Daniel Juckes is a creative writer and PhD candidate from Curtin University, Western Australia. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts (History and Politics) and then from Curtin with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Publishing. His reviews have been published in Grok and on the Westerly blog. His research interests include autobiography, family memoir, and nostalgia. His current creative work-in-progress is a family history/memoir inspired by heirlooms and ephemera.

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