Introspective novel about Paul, a young Irish builder who goes living in Berlin with his girlfriend Evelyn. As he is working on the site, his thoughts meander from the meaning of German words, his relationship with Evelyn and her parents and the beauty of German culture and the city. Seemingly without plot, this is a book to be slowly savoured.
Earlier in the month, Shane had caught me in a quiet corner of the site making a tower out of pale blocks that'd been lying unused around the place. At the base of the tower I'd criss-crossed two fluorescent lamps. I was walking backwards to admire the construction when I heard him step from the shadows, giggling. I spun round.
'How long have you been there?' I said.
He laughed, 'Oh about half an hour! What are you up to?'
'Dunno. I was bored. It's just messing.'
He eyed the thing glowing in front of us.
'Don't say a word, will you?' `I'll say nothing,' he replied, and ambled off.
A few mornings later, beside my computer, I found a tall mysterious stack of washers sitting in the middle of a square of mirror. I smiled; I knew he'd put it there. So in response, that afternoon, I leant six sweeping brushes in a line down a wall whose plasterboarding Shane was overseeing. And later the next day I walked past eight scaffold planks leaning against a wall on the lower ground floor, each plank six inches farther from the wall than the previous, making a strange octave of inclinations. The next morning I arranged a set of laser levels to project a perfect red square into the corner of a room he was working in.
We never acknowledged what the other was doing. It was a wordless language game we were building into the framework of the site.