Synopses & Reviews
Book of Clouds is a haunting, masterfully wrought debut novel about a young woman adrift in Berlin, where a string of fateful encounters leads to romance, violence, and revelation. Having escaped her overbearing family a continent away, Tatiana settles in Berlin and cultivates solitude while distancing herself from the citys past. Yet the phantoms of Berlinseeping in through the floorboards of her apartment, lingering in the abandoned subterraneaare more alive to her than the people she passes on her daily walks. When she takes a job transcribing notes for the reclusive historian Doktor Weiss, her life in Berlin becomes more complexand more perilous. Through Weiss, she meets Jonas, a meteorologist who, as a child in the GDR, took solace in the skys constant shape-shifting, an antidote to his grim and unyielding reality. As their three paths intersect and merge, the contours of all their worlds change, culminating in an act of violence that will leave none of them untouched. Unfolding with the strange, charged logic of a dream, Book of Clouds is a profound portrait of a city forever in flux, and of the myths we cling to in order to give shape to our lives.
"Aridjis's lithe debut novel is a brooding, dreamy tale of a young Mexican woman in Berlin, burrowing an escape from the siblings and expectations awaiting her back home. Placing first in a nationwide language exam, university student Tatiana wins a year's room and board in Germany, quickly dissolving into Berlin life ('On some days I felt attached to the city and assimilated, on others like some kind of botched transplant with a few renegade veins') and deciding to stay on when the scholarship runs dry. After a series of odd jobs, Tatiana lands with Dr. Friedrich Weiss, an eccentric historian who needs an assistant to transcribe a number of his 'mesmeric' dictations. A loner with a fertile imagination, Tatiana is well-suited to the job, and quickly grows absorbed; Weiss's obsession with Berlin's Nazi and Stasi past dovetails nicely with Tatiana's fascination with the city's underbelly. Ultimately, the characters and landmarks of this ephemeral novel (Tatiana included) never quite emerge from a fog of mystery, making this less a satisfying narrative than a lofty meditation on the power of what's obscured and unknowable." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Book of Clouds" is a haunting, masterfully wrought debut novel about a young woman adrift in Berlin, where a string of fateful encounters leads to romance, violence, and revelation.