The Book Bench: ‘Let’s all Move to Berlin’
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 05.04.09 | 3:01 PM ET
I’ve had a longtime fascination with the Parisian expat writers of the 1920s. Books like “A Moveable Feast” or “That Summer in Paris” never fail to make me wish I was sitting in a Left Bank cafe, making a cup of coffee last for hours while I wrestle with a short story or pause to chat with other struggling writers who’ve wandered by.
Of course, Paris is hardly the place for impoverished creative types anymore, but—say the New Yorker’s Book Bench bloggers—there’s a viable European alternative if I ever decide to attempt a modern-day recreation of my Hemingway daydreams: Berlin.
Bookslut‘s Jessa Crispin is headed to the German capital in July, and Book Bencher Willing Davidson figures he spots a trend. He writes: “You often hear that the creative class just talks and talks, and never does anything, but its reaction to the vexing dilemma of German depopulation has been concise and effective. It’s called: Let’s all move to Berlin… It’s cheap, everyone speaks English, there’s mass unemployment, and thus no social pressure to work, and everyone eats doner kebab, which was invented there. It’s the European dream for young Americans in the age of reduced expectations.”
I’m sensing some sarcasm here, but there’s truth mixed in as well. Cheap rent and doner kebab? Sounds like the building blocks of an expat literary renaissance. Who’s with me?