** Black Deutschland by Darryl Pinckney


Black Deutschland is the story of a young gay black man who moves to Berlin to escape his hometown (Chicago) and, he hopes, his alcoholic past. The story is told in bursts that alternate, challengingly for the reader, between present Berlin and past Chicago (or vice-versa) and describe both family and historical events on both sides of the Atlantic. My favorite strand of the narrative was the story of the hero’s cousin, a gifted pianist raised mostly by her aunt (the hero’s mother) and who now finds herself in Berlin, married to a rich businessman, and living a life very different from the one she came from or the one she imagined for herself. For the rest, the hero flits here and there, doesn’t seem to find anything worth working for, and looking desperately for love with all the wrong people, it seemed. Too aimless for my taste.

 

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