'Essential in these times of narrowing national horizons.' - Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller
'When the Circus Came to Town: The Resurrection of Postdamer Platz' by Peter Schneider
'Berlin Suite' by Cees Nooteboom
'An Author Recommends' by David Wagner
Plus: the controversial reconstruction of a Prussian castle, Berlin's most transgressive sex club, a green urban oasis, suburban neo-Nazis and much more.
'Berlin is too big for Berlin' is the curious title of a book by flaneur Hanns Zischler who jokes about the low population density of this polycentric, extensive city. But 'Berlin is too big for Berlin' in another sense: how to live together and keep alive the myth of 'Berlin, the trendy city'? To understand it, it is necessary to go on a journey to its origins, the nineties: the scars of war were everywhere, coal stoves, dilapidated buildings, basic supermarkets...
Today, however, the search for abandoned ruins, the hunt for heirlooms in markets and illegal parties in basements no longer exist. That era of urban archaeology is over: almost all the old buildings have been renovated, houses cleared of squatters and typical DDR style shops closed. Without the wounds of the past the city may be less dramatic but it is stronger and healthier. Even the inhabitants have lost something of that yearning, of that romantic and self-destructive streak that defined the Berlin of the past. But Berlin remains a young city. Indeed, to cite one who knows it well, Berlin is, and always will be 'pure potential'.