The Weather in Berlin
By Ward Just
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618036684, 320pp.
Publication Date: June 1, 2002
List Price: $24.00*
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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).
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 Tribune’s 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 Martha’s Vineyard and Paris.
"One of the most astute writers of American fiction." The New York Times Book Review
"Just writes...smart, well-crafted narratives -- wise to the ways of the world -- that use fiction to show us how we live." The Los Angeles Times
"Just...a virtuoso novelist, never uses two words when one, just the right one, will do." The Seattle Times
"Just writes seamlessly, mixing spoken dialogue, interior monologue, and narrative the story unreels before the reader as in a film." Library Journal
"Just has never done anything better." Kirkus Reviews
"Just's prose is precise and smooth, A BMW cruising the autobahn." Boston Magazine
"[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
"Just's imagination guides us on this journey...it's the stops along the way that count as much as the destinations." Newsweek
"Just...a virtuoso novelist, never uses two words when one, just the right one, will do." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Another carefully crafted novel of character and manners by [Just] little happens to the characters externally, while much happens internally." St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Elegantly written, strikingly intelligent .an indelible portrait of a man struggling to make sense of himself in this ever-shifting world." Newsday
"Masterful and complex fiction for thinking adults . Capturing the sensual subtleties of place and the sensibilities of highly distinctive milieus." Book Magazine
"[A] mature and astute novel Written with acute observations and lyricism." The Philadelphia Inquirer
A skilled observer of America's top people.
The New Yorker