The Undercurrents Buy from other retailers

Publication Date: Sep 6, 2022

400 pp


List Price US: $18.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-344-0

Trim Size: 5.26 x 7.97 x 1.05 in.


List Price US: $10.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-345-7

The Undercurrents

A Story of Berlin

“[A] deeply absorbing…highly original and atmospheric book…[Bell] ably guide[s] us on a poetic exploration of the layers and depths in this troubled, thrilling, world capital.” —New York Times Book Review

“An enthralling book about how finding the truth of a city’s story means finding the truth of your own…[Bell] skillfully weaves the narrative threads into an elegant tapestry…remarkably absorbing.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With sleuthing interest and novelistic flair, Kirsty Bell’s The Undercurrents has ruptured familiar terrain…an associative thesis on the dangers of repression, from gargantuan acts of genocide to the comparatively subtle shames of familial collapse…An enchanting and sometimes disturbing symbolism runs through The Undercurrents, as Bell imaginatively weaves the city’s hard factuality with the emotional and physical experience of living in it.” —frieze

“With her extraordinary new book…Bell brilliantly shows us that not only is history all around us, but it is also something that we actively live alongside…Bell takes us on an enthralling tour of Berlin’s recent history.” —Buzz Magazine

“[Bell] mixes personal reflections with historical and literary research in her lively investigation of the city and its contemporary built environment.” —Exberliner

“From the first moment I heard Kirsty Bell read from her writing, I have yearned for the book she was then working on. And now here it is, perfect and perfectly balanced, a clear-eyed and beautifully written account about place, about consciousness. I treasure The Undercurrents, and so will you.” —Hilton Als, author of White Girls

“I read this watery, engrossing book in the bath, following along as Kirsty Bell’s reflective curiosity leads her onward along the Landwehr canal, in and out of the archives, novels, memoirs, and stories of her building and her neighborhood. Evocative and fascinating, The Undercurrents is a liquid psychogeography of Berlin that had me mulling over the psychic charge of place not only where Bell lives, but where I live too.” —Lauren Elkin, author of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London

“Kirsty Bell cracks Berlin open, revealing the city’s chaotic brine; one that is alive, ever moving, and deeply human.” —Calla Henkel, author of Other People’s Clothes

“It is easy to be carried along by these submerged currents, by the momentum of the prose, the motion through a resisting city. As in other classics of urban discovery, the personal becomes universal, and the past that demands to live in the present is revealed like a shining new reef. As we return, time and again, to the solitary figure at the window.” —Iain Sinclair, author of London Orbital

“Kirsty Bell has achieved a real work of art: She tells of Berlin’s sunken past as a freshly emerged present—and she explains the energy of this city from the history of the people, the streets, and the hopes that have shaped it.” —Florian Illies, author of 1913: The Year before the Storm

“With The Undercurrents, Kirsty Bell does for Berlin what Luc Sante has done for New York and Rebecca Solnit for San Francisco; she tells the stories recorded in the city’s stone and water, and in the hearts of its inhabitants. Her profound and idiosyncratic chronicle of Berlin is an act of hydromancy, divining a history of love and loss from the water that flows beneath and between the city’s bricks.” —Dan Fox, author of Limbo

“Kirsty Bell’s approach to Berlin, the mixing of the personal with the historical, is fascinating. I read her book with great interest and pleasure.” —Norman Ohler, author of Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich

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