Reading this was like lying on the grass and watching clouds. After two hours nothing truly happened, although something beautiful transpired and you feel like a poet.
As the back cover would tell you ‘Book of Clouds’ is about a Mexican woman adrift in Berlin. I quite liked that this immigrant story did not include the British/American perspective. The world Tatiana came from and the world she came to are both foreign worlds to a regular British or American. Aridjis successfully married off Latin American melancholy and magical realism with German modernism and suffocating history penetrating every street and every building.
Some reviewers said they wanted to know more about the reasons behind Tatiana’s disconnection with the world and her taste for escaping. It seems to me that those readers are used to those books where one secret explains all. Real life ain’t like that. Sometimes you just can’t connect with the world, because you can’t, and not because your dad accidentally killed your mother, or because your fiance ran away with your sister.
I felt this book like I haven’t felt a book in a long while. I felt the bits about the light and the darkness, the bits about sounds invading your sleep, the bits about trying hard to keep your neurosis in check. And the part about wanting to move away and start anew knowing damn well nothing really changes. And, of course, the bit about detachable shower heads.
And when the old professor fumbled with a broken Dictaphone looking worried and helpless I wanted to cry and then Tatiana cried too and that’s when I decided I would give this book five stars.