The Road to Atonement
An Über-hip hotel, the firebombing of Darmstadt, and Germany's battle to strike a truce with itself.
“How do you feel about representing New York at our literary festival here in Frankfurt?” asked the voice on the phone in halting, German-inflected English. The voice belonged to Wolfram, the organizer of the festival. “Writers from other cities are also invited,” he said, ticking off the names of authors who would be embodying the spirits of Paris, Vienna, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, and Luanda, the capital of Angola. “We call the festival Metropolitan. We are in our second year. I am thinking this will be very important.”
Despite the challenge of conversing by cell phone in a language in which he was far from fluent, Wolfram seemed eager to prolong the conversation. He wanted to acquaint me with the wonders of Frankfurt. “We never had a prince,” he said. “We were always a free city, a city of commerce,
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