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The Weather in Berlinby Ward Just
Synopses & Reviews
For decades, film director Dixon Greenwood has lived the Hollywood life ? the studio intrigues, the abrupt rise and fall of careers, grand aspirations come and gone. Dix?s own fame rests on his one great work, Summer, 1921, an antiwar classic that has become a cult film. Now he believes he has lost his imagination and genius for reading the times. His audience has vanished. So, on a kind of personal rescue mission, he embarks on a three-month journey to Germany, the birthplace, as he sees it, of the twentieth century. In postwar, post-Wall Berlin, Dix finds the winter skies gray and the cultural climate turbulent. While fellow artists debate politics and art, he discovers that a nostalgic Prussian costume drama is the most popular program on German television. With decidedly mixed feelings, he agrees to direct an episode ? a fateful decision that unexpectedly reunites him with an actress who disappeared from the set of Summer, 1921 thirty years before. Their final collaboration takes Dix into the heart of the German century and back to his own imagination.
The Weather in Berlin showcases Ward Just?s unmatched eye for restless Americans abroad. Imbued with the glitter and darkness of both old Hollywood and the new Europe, it is a terrifically atmospheric novel by ?one of the most astute writers of American fiction? (New York Times Book Review).
"The disaffected American, adrift in a country scarred by war, rendered impotent by circumstance, burdened by the responsibility to live a meaningful life, Dixon makes a curious reincarnation of Jake Barnes. That genealogy doesn't take anything from The Weather in Berlin, of course. Just has his own inimitable things to say about reawakening a creative life. And he says them here in an atmospheric novel that's mysteriously alluring." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
"Recognized for writing that puts him among the best in the United States today, Just portrays a talented person, trapped by circumstance and lassitude, breaking free into new creativity and insight. This masterly novel belongs in every public library." Library Journal
"[T]he intelligence that suffuses the narrative creates a compelling dynamic in which the historical forces of the 20th century are embodied in human terms." Publishers Weekly
In this astute novel of Americans abroad, Ward Just turns his keen eye toward the dark underpinnings of nationalism, fame, and artistic integrity. When a famous Hollywood director travels to post-Wall Germany to rekindle his genius, he is unexpectedly reunited with an actress who mysteriously disappeared from the set of his movie thirty years before. Masterly and atmospheric, The Weather in Berlin explores the subtleties of artistic inspiration, the nature of memory, and the pull of the past.
About the Author
Ward Just is the author of fourteen previous novels, including the National book Award finalist Echo House and An Unfinished Season, winner of the Chicago Tribunes Heartland Award. In a career that began as a war correspondent for Newsweek and the Washington Post, Just has lived and written in half a dozen countries, including Britain, France, and Vietnam. His characters often lead public lives as politicians, civil servants, soldiers, artists, and writers. It is the tension between public duty and private conscience that animates much of his fiction, including Forgetfulness. Just and his wife, Sarah Catchpole, divide their time between Marthas Vineyard and Paris.
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