A page-turner of a novel, reminiscent of Armisted Maupin’s TALES OF THE CITY. This city, however, is Berlin in the twenties instead of San Francisco in the 70s. Prices are out of control and rising every day. Everything is changing, and survival means being open to whatever comes next, to be modern. Meta has always been well off but soon won’t be able to pay the rent on the large apartment she’s taken for granted the last two decades. Her landlady, Esther, manages the apartment building and is the widow of Meta’s long-term lover. Esther’s son Pieps, works delivering coal by day but by night explores Berlin’s gay hot spots, where he’s sometimes mistaken for a rent-boy. He falls in love with Frank, who claims to be an actor from America but is actually a drug-addicted ship’s steward trying to pack in as much of Berlin as he can in his week’s leave. Eva, Meta’s maid, becomes lovers with Lotte, the woman who pulls the strings in Berlin’s most fashionable queer clubs. Claire Waldorff is known by all and Claire knows a certain Marlene. A great read, with the city itself as a main character, and Berlin’s legendary queer nightclubs of the era as historical settings which the appealing fictional characters move through in search of their desires. I’m now eager to read Bredan Nash’s follow-up, THE DIRECTOR.
First chapter of THE DIRECTOR begins with the arrival of Paul Whiteman in Berlin, from Vienna, with a certain journalist in tow, not yet named but clearly the young Billy Wilder. So, exciting from the first!
The book may be purchased directly at http://www.baxterjardine.com