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An unnamed Visitor travels to Berlin with a camera looking for reckonings of her own. The city itself is a character–vibrant and postapocalyptic, flat and featureless except for its rivers, its lakes, its legions of bicyclists. Here she encounters a people’s history: the Cuban teen taken as a POW on a German submarine only to return home to a family who doesn’t believe him; the young Jewish scholar hidden in a sarcophagus until safe passage to England is found; the female lawyer haunted by a childhood of deprivation in the bombed-out suburbs who still defends those accused of war crimes; a young nurse with a checkered past who joins the Reich at a medical facility more intent on dispensing with the wounded than healing them; and the son of a zookeeper at the Berlin Zoo, fighting to keep the animals safe from both war and an increasingly starving populace.
A meditation on war and mystery, this is an exciting new work by one of our most gifted novelists, one that seeks to align the stories of the past with the stories of the future.
Cristina Garcia is the author of seven novels, including: Dreaming in Cuban, The Aguero Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck, The Lady Matador’s Hotel, andKing of Cuba. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA grant, among others. Garcia has taught at universities nationwide. Recently, she completed her tenure as University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos and as Visiting Professor at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin. She lives in the Bay Area.