Review of Cristina Garcia’s ‘Here in Berlin’

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My review of Here in Berlin is now up at Chicago Review of Books.

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Night Train to Munich (1940)

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I sat down to watch Night Train to Munich knowing very little about it. Broadly speaking I knew it would be it would a spy story, that it was made and set around 1939 and that it was directed by Carol Reed. Of course, these few facts tick a lot of my boxes, so that was reason enough to watch it. It turned out to be a competently made and pretty amusing film, with its most remarkable features emerging from some curious intertextualities.

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Andrew Marr’s ‘Sleuths, Spies and Sorcerers’ : Review/Rant

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Let me begin by acknowledging that what Andrew Marr is attempting to do in this programme is literally impossible. He sets out on a whistlestop tour of spy fiction in Britain, determined to cover the entire history of the genre in an hour. Although in literary terms spy fiction has a relatively short history, there is simply no way to fairly encompass that history in an hour of television. I haven’t seen the other episodes in this series (Crime Fiction and Science Fiction), but I’d imagine those are similarly compromised by the rapidity of the treatment. Nevertheless, that does not excuse quite how asinine and partial Marr’s account is.

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Edward Upward – Journey to the Border (1938)

The 30s produced many thriller-inflected texts which we nevertheless not actually thrillers, for fairly obvious reasons when you consider the global political climate (though I intend to go into more depth on these reasons in my thesis). Edward Upward’s 1938 novel, Journey to the Border is one of these.

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The Violent Century – Lavie Tidhar

Lavie Tidhar’s novel imagines a world in which metahumans were spontaneously created around the world in the 1930s, and how their existence weaves in and out of the violent history of the twentieth century. It’s pretty exhilarating, and the way in which history is presented as largely unchanged by the intervention of superheroes on every side is fascinating. Worth the experience for the Stan Lee joke alone.

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