Archive for September, 2008

A Wife, Down and Out in Berlin
September 18, 2008

THE FORWARD — September 18, 2008

This Must Be the Place
By Anna Winger
Riverhead Books, 303 pages, $24.95.

Days after moving to Berlin from Brooklyn this summer, I fell into a deep funk. It was the kind of can’t-get-out-of-bed depression where at 5 p.m. you realize that you haven’t left the apartment all day — except once, and that was to get a donner kebab, the pervasive Turkish street food and Berlin’s answer to the New York slice. I knew that outside, out in Berlin, there were galleries to see and cafés to idyll in, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave. It all just seemed so gray, vast and empty. I was realizing that Berlin, with all its heavy history, could do this to a person.

It probably wasn’t the best idea, then, to start reading Anna Winger’s debut novel, “This Must Be the Place.” When the book opens, Winger’s protagonist, Hope, a third grade schoolteacher from New York, has also just arrived in Berlin, and fares even worse than I have. Drawn to Europe by a husband who spends his weeks in Poland — leaving in his stead a stack of books for his non-Jewish wife, with titles that invariably contain the words “Holocaust” or “antisemitism” — Hope hides out. (more…)