A Guide To Berlin

By Gail Jones Penguin Random House


Gail Jones

Judges' report


A Guide to Berlin pays homage to a great writer, Vladimir Nabokov, whose own fiction provides the title, and to Berlin: a city that is a focus of political and architectural wreckage as well as liberation and civilisation. The novel is both an examination and an enactment of storytelling. A young Australian woman is invited to join a group of international travellers currently living in Berlin. They have a shared interest in the work of Nabokov, and they meet to discuss his writing and to share their own stories.

The stories are varied and intriguing; bringing the politics and experiences of each traveller into sharp conjunction with the others. Gail Jones’s novel is designed with architectural precision, inhabited by illuminating discussions of literature, art and life.

Further reading


Reviews:

“I’ve always felt that Gail Jones is yet to receive the recognition she deserves. This is her sixth novel and it is, I believe, a masterpiece.” Mark Rubbo, Readings blog

“Hers is an unashamedly cerebral work that will only gain by rereading; but it is also, like its Nabokovian parent, a narrative that pulses with feeling. Its pages finally summon not one ghost but millions of them.” Geordie Williamson, The Australian

“A Guide to Berlin is brimming with rich descriptions, founded on the ‘Nabokovian regard for the weird vibrancy of things, the writer’s capacity for relish and glorification’. The dark, haunted cityscape of Berlin’s winter is beautifully captured, with detailed references to streets, districts and tramlines composing Jones’s personal guide to Berlin.” Cassie Davies, The Telegraph

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