This Must Be The Place / Anna Winger

This Must Be The Place / Anna Winger

Synopsis: “Walter Baum has one of the most famous voices in Germany, if no longer a famous face. A former television star, he’s been dubbing Tom Cruise’s lines into German for fifteen years, since he returned from a failed attempt to make it as an actor in Hollywood. Now he finds himself nearing forty, alone and adrift.

In the apartment just below him, a young American woman named Hope is slipping further and further into herself. Having fled New York a month earlier to join her workaholic husband in Berlin, she finds herself more isolated than ever and unable to cope with the sense of foreboding created by the haunted city around her and the painful memories from the one she just left.

These two broken people form an unlikely friendship, at first out of loneliness, but then deepening out of genuine affinity. They are finally forced to reveal their secrets and examine their pasts, and, as a pair, they explore how to reconcile their hopes for the future with the ache of history that lingers, permanently, beneath the surface.

Funny, insightful, and moving, This Must Be the Place is an expertly crafted debut novel about the events that bind us together and the friendships that make and remake us whole.


 

Review: Last semester, I took an English class called “Post Contemporary Literature” and I had absolutely no idea what it was going to be about. Basically, it took the contemporary genre of literature and pushed it further: to works specifically written about and after 9/11. This book was the last one on the syllabus, and it blew me away.

Winger captures the idea of trauma and pain in these characters beautifully and uses their differences to show that loss is felt by everyone. She uses Berlin, Germany as the setting and then sprinkles small bits of New York into the narrative to connect the two disasters.

The melding of storylines felt effortless, the writing was beautiful, and it was easy to not only empathize with the characters but also see that they were making mistakes too. I think it’s easy in a novel to want to create a “perfect character” who the readers will feel bad for because they have never done anything bad. In this novel however we can see how Hope and Walter sometimes mess things up for themselves, but that just adds to their relatable-ness as human characters.

This novel touches on ideas of friendship, love, loss, history, and how we can never cover up or change the past. I personal think it was fantastic, and I would definitely recommend reading it if you haven’t. Also, there’s a lot of Tom Cruise / American 80’s pop culture references that are hilarious.

 

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Recipe #1 / Quinoa Bean bowl

Recipe #1 / Quinoa Bean bowl

So, along with book reviews and creative writing, I have a “Personal” section of my blog where I post the kind of stuff that doesn’t fit into my other categories. If you read my Hello 2017 post, then you know that one of my goals for the new year is to eat cleaner. I’m really not a good cook, so finding new and yummy recipes that I can easily make at home proved more challenging than I had anticipated. However, I found a few good ones that I love, so I’m going to share them here in case anyone else is like me and has a really hard time finding easy recipes. This is my first one, and it’s a quinoa bean bowl.


What you’re going to need:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (you can use any kind, I used a tri-color mix)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 can of black beans
  • 1/4 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 ring of onion (you can use red or white, I used white because it’s what I had in my fridge)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste, and any other types of seasoning / spices you want

 

Directions:

  1. Put the water and the quinoa in a pot and bring it to a boil. Then once it’s boiling, turn it on low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed / evaporated. (While my quinoa was simmering I put in some salt, pepper, and a little bit of Cajun seasoning because I like the little bit of spice).
  2. Cut up just a ring or two of your onion along with the clove of garlic. Put them in a pan with the olive oil and sauté them for about 5 minutes, or until the garlic turns a light brownish color.
  3. After you drain your black beans and chickpeas, take them and throw them into another sauce pan on low, just to warm them up a little bit. (This part is optional, I just like my beans warmed up, you can totally put them in cold if you want).
  4. Slice up your avocado any way you’d like, I cut mine into little bite sized pieces.
  5. Once the water has evaporated / absorbed into the quinoa, you can take the sautéed onions and garlic and the warmed up beans and put them both into the pan with the quinoa and stir it around and serve it, or you can keep them separate like I did and add them into your bowl one at a time.
  6. Once your hot ingredients are in your bowl, put the avocado in there, and top it off with some salt and pepper!

I love this dish because it’s super easy, it’s got a lot of good protein from the beans and the quinoa, and I still have another bowl left over I can make today for lunch. Eating healthy may seem really difficult with all the intricate recipes people put online, but starting out as a beginning I think this dish is a win!