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Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer

Bricks and Mortar (2013)

by Clemens Meyer

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441368,674 (3.7)2



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A big read in many ways, tackling modern life post-German-unification through a non-judgemental focus on the sex industry, in many pages with many viewpoints and many voices. I'm writing this a couple of months after finishing the book, but I still have a strong impression of letting the language wash over me and being swept through the book.

The subject may be queasy for some (and in my innocence I learnt a few bits of interesting terminology) but there is lots of energy and life in all its ups and downs which has wider purpose exploring a sudden onset of capitalism, legalisation of prostitution, and broader picture of European interactions. There's a lot of humour too -- the sex industry being as subject to the seediness of accountancy, taxes, and property prices as any other business.

In all its richness, translator Katy Derbyshire has done a grand job of bringing it to English readership, and as usual it is a small independent publisher bring us new daring writing, in this case the incomparable Fitzcarraldo Editions. Fans of great boundary-pushing writing should read this and explore the publisher's other books. ( )
  rrmmff2000 | Dec 16, 2016 |
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Wenn es Abend wird, stehe ich am Fenster.
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Bricks and Mortar is a novel about the sex trade in a big city in the former GDR, from just before 1989 to the present day, charting the development of the industry from absolute prohibition to full legality in the twenty years following the reunification of Germany. The focus is on the rise and fall of one man from football hooligan to large-scale landlord and service-provider for prostitutes to, ultimately, a man persecuted by those he once trusted. But we also hear other voices including: many different women who work in prostitution, their clients, small-time gangsters, an ex-jockey searching for his drug-addict daughter, a businessman from the West, a girl forced into child prostitution, a detective, and a pirate radio presenter.… (more)

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