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BERLIN is a city of fragments and ghosts, a laboratory of ideas, the fount of both the brightest and darkest designs of history's most bloody century. The once arrogant capital of Europe was devastated by Allied bombs, divided by a Wall, then reunited and reborn as one of the creative centres of the world. Today it resonates with the echo of lives lived, dreams realized and evils executed. No other city has repeatedly been so powerful, and fallen so low; few other cities have been so shaped and defined by individual imaginations. Rory MacLean assembles a dazzlingly eclectic cast of Berliners over five centuries, from the wild medieval balladeer to the ambitious prostitute who refashioned herself as a royal princess, from the Scottish mercenary who fought for the Prussian Army to the fearful Communist Party functionary who helped to build the Wall. Alongside them we encounter Marlene Dietrich flaunting her sexuality in The Blue Angel, Goebbels concocting Nazi iconography, Hitler fantasising about the mega-city Germania and David Bowie recording 'Heroes'. Through these vivid portraits, Rory MacLean masterfully evokes the seen and the unseen, in a richly varied, unexpected tour of Berlin's history. The result is a unique biography of one of the world's most volatile and creative cities.
A Bad Character
Kapoor gives us piercing glimpses of slums, roadside restaurants, Sufi shrines, heroin dens hidden in the backpacker district, desert outskirts where luxury apartments are being erected, and the noisy, thronging bazaar in the old city . . . She writes with a keening, furious sorrow that rang in my ears well after I finished the book' Wall Street Journal // She is twenty, restless in Delhi. He is a few years older, and has travelled the world. They meet in a café and they fall in love. In a dark, cool flat they have sex and do drugs. And then they travel the city. From the drug dens of Paharganj to the building sites of Noida; through the wastelands of Mehrauli and the dargah in Nizamuddin charged with plaintive song, the two play out their love story to its black end. // 'Charged with the energy of a racy page-turner, and visceral in its treatment of female desire and sexuality' Mint 'Intoxicating' New York Times