Countdown to the future: Tomorrow Berlin by Oscar Coop-Phane
Tomorrow Berlin is a short, sharp novel about young men struggling to find a future in a city’s underbelly. It follows Tobias, Armand, and Franz, who all end up in Berlin thanks to the ups and downs of life. Once there, they can dance the entire weekend away in the city’s famous clubs, fuelling themselves with drugs and desperation. No matter what happens, though, the downward spiral looms over all three of them.
Translated from French, the novel has a distinctive feel and a snappy pace, moving between the stories of the three characters as the narrative shows them growing up and ending up in Berlin. Once there, the book has a combination of landmarks and U-Bahn stations, detailed descriptions of going into the infamous club Berghain, and references to things like a Club Mate bottle that evoke the city in a minimalistic way. However much it is a story of Berlin, however, it is also a story of the grimy side of many cities, the worlds of drugs and sex and living outside of a seemingly respectable normality. These are not characters who necessarily looked for the path, but it is the one that found them. As the novel says, “the unfortunate ones are punished because they don’t know how to cope with their lives.”
Tomorrow Berlin is a fast-paced journey into the dark heart of a city, built around lost characters and their interactions in a way similar to other novels about the seedy life of cities. Its combination of drugs, clubbing, and a low-key narrative may not appeal to everyone, but it is a stylish read with a melancholy edge and a picture of a city at its centre.