Skip to main content

Divided into zones

I enjoyed this review in the London Review of Books by Patrick McGuinness of The Sea View Has Me Again: Uwe Johnson in Sheerness by Patrick Wright. I’d never heard of Johnson (a German writer who lived in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey for the last years of his life) before but he and his books sound interesting.

I was particularly taken with this passage:

He fell drastically behind on Anniversaries, owed money to his publisher, and his marriage deteriorated to the extent that he accused his wife, Elisabeth, of having an affair with a Czech secret police agent. She and their daughter moved out to a house nearby, but Johnson was so determined not to see her that he divided Sheerness into zones: each of them had their own streets, and for the parts of town they both needed to visit they were allocated different times of day. These were the sectors of Allied-occupied Berlin, but in Sheerness.

I’m not saying this is good but it is interesting and reminded me so much of China Mieville’s The City and the City, two worlds overlaid on top of each other, ignoring each other, in the same physical space.

Mention this post

If you’ve mentioned this post somewhere, enter the URL here to let me know: