In her article "Urban Landscape in McEwan's Narrative Representation of Berlin," Barbara J. Puschmann-Nalenz discusses the image of Berlin created in Ian McEwanﹸs novel The Innocent (1990) and the chapter titled "Berlin" in Black Dogs (1992). It starts from the hypothetical statement that while British literary fiction set in Berlin is rare after 1970 the genres of spy and detective novel, where crime and violence take center stage, shape the image of the city in highbrow narratives as well. The perspectivization of the cityscape, including its monuments, through the protagonists fundamentally influences its image. In The Innocent the limited view and interest of the central character transmits estrangement, indifference and personal preoccupations by a third-person narrator and figural narrative, whereas in Black Dogs a politically alert first-person narrator follows the event of the Fall of the Wall on the site as a detached observer. The ambiguity which results from the representations of the urban landscape reflects the display of ambiguous human characteristics in crucial situations. The essay argues that in the spatial narratives of these novels especially themes of disintegration, division and insecurity find their intricate symbolic expression.
Puschmann-Nalenz, Barbara J.
"Urban Landscape in McEwan's Narrative Representation of Berlin."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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