Having escaped her overbearing family a continent away, Tatiana settles in Berlin and begins to cultivate a solitude while distancing herself from the city's past. Yet the phantoms of Berlin - seeping in through the floorboards of her apartment, lingering in the abandoned subterranea - become more alive to her than the people she passes on her daily walks. Unfolding with the strange, charged logic of a dream, Book of Clouds is a profound portrait of a city forever in a flux, and of the myths we cling to in order to give shape to our lives.For my reviews, I usually compose my own "short summary" to describe the plot of the book. For Book of Clouds, though, this task proved to be way too difficult - I had to opt for the text written on the inside cover. I think this was because the book didn't really have a conventional storyline; there wasn't a conflict, there wasn't an antagonist, there wasn't a climax. It was simply the story of a young woman's life in Berlin.
For some people this would be a huge turn off. "No adventure? No excitement? What kind of book is that?" My response would be that this is a gorgeous novel. The writing is poetic, lush and lyrical - it sucks you in completely. The actual book concept would probably have been boring if it wasn't for the talent that Chloe Aridjis displayed in her writing style (My guess is that this is probably due to her PhD in poetry!). Through this story, the culture of Berlin comes alive - the city itself is almost a character in the book.
As I said before, many people would most likely find the plot to be boring and flat. Essentially, all we do is follow Tatiana's time in Berlin - from her employment with a historian, to her awkward romance with a meteorologist, to her haunting experience in deserted underground bowling alley, and finally to her decision to move back to her homecountry. As the readers we are transported into a world that feels like a dream, but is somehow very realistic. It's a strange feeling that you must discover on your own!
Final say: Are you someone who craves action and adventure in a book? If so, steer clear from this one. But if you can appreciate the unique writing and let yourself get lost in Berlin alongside Tatiana, you'd enjoy this one for sure. I would recommend Book of Clouds to almost everyone.