If this, Uwe Timm's enchanting new novel, were a cautionary tale, the tag line would go something like this: Should you plan to be in Berlin on Midsummer Night, the time of the summer solstice--Johannesnacht in German--Watch Out! The narrator of Timm's story is a writer who simply can't get started on his next book. So he accepts a commission to write an article about potatoes. He has some interest in the subject because of an uncle who could, remarkably, from taste alone, differentiate one species of potato from another. Since it turns out that one of the authorities on the subject worked in East Berlin, our hero takes off to do some research. Rushing between the East and West sectors of the now-united city, the narrator becomes involved in a series of madcap adventures: odd, sometimes threatening encounters with all sorts of people, and strange entanglements. Being the master storyteller that he is, Uwe Timm here turns a fascinating tale filled with surprise, magic, comedy, and hope.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German