Tag Archives: Paul Auster

Bleak Berlin and a bunker

Berlin in February is not Berlin at its best. The snow is gone and the sky, a pale shade of grey, is thick with a cloying nothingness. I went out into it this morning, hoping a jog would stir the air for me, fill me with new thoughts and ideas. But as I ran, all I could feel was a lack of inspiration. Nothing. Nothing at all. So I started to wonder if that lack of inspiration could be turned in such a way as to become inspiring itself. And that question led me to Oracle Night, in which Paul Auster’s protagonist writes his own protagonist into a hole – a bunker – from which there is no easy way out.

It’s a literary scene that my mind seems to enjoy recalling more than I recall enjoying it – not because I didn’t like the story, but because I didn’t, and don’t, like the idea of getting so absolutely stuck either in writing or life, that the only solution is to unpick and start over. Today, though, I welcomed the bunker images from the book, as they dissolved the heavy Berlin sky that hovered above my head, and took me into the infinite realm of interpretation and association. And once there, I received another literary visitor in the form of Jim Crace’s Quarantine. But that, as they say, is another story for another time…

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A typical Berlin February sky

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