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  • Writer's pictureCharles Arrowsmith

Review: Berlin by Bea Setton (Washington Post)


Most of us have run away from ourselves at some point, maybe even spiraled in a foreign city. If you haven’t, may you one day do so with the same self-delusional brio as the protagonist of “Berlin,” Bea Setton’s highly entertaining debut novel. In the course of this witty and unsettling romp, Setton locates the humor and pathos in personal crisis while nimbly sidestepping the perils of the coming-of-age travelogue. Bereft of the earnestness characteristic of many Bildungsromans, “Berlin” manages to be both light social comedy and dark psychological study.


Our heroine, Daphne Ferber, is unlucky in love and in need of a change. Three and a half years after breaking up with Sebastián, “a beautiful, beautiful boy from Colombia,” a frustrating one-night stand with a handsome Norwegian sends her into a tailspin, and she quits her job as a barista in London to flee to Berlin. As she admits, “I’ve always found starting on a clean page more inviting than amending an imperfect first attempt.”


For the review in full, visit The Washington Post.

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