My life in Chicago has taken on a Teutonic tinge, so I’ve become more engaged in arcane Germanic topicsand I’m keen to read the novel Black Deutschland by Darryl Pinckney (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), an erudite essayist and chronicler of the black literary tradition. Whereas that tradition’s engagement with Europe generally pivots around a New York–Paris axis, Pinckney’s novel sends a young, queer, aspiring writer from my hometown to seek refuge in Cold War Berlin, hoping to resuscitate the libertine spirit of Weimar Germany. I imagine disappointment for the protagonist but expect nuanced insights and beautiful turns of phrase from Pinckney.
Naomi Beckwith is the Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
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