Germany is home. It has been home for quite a while. It seeped into the consciousness while i was busy fighting inner inadequacies that cropped up as an expat. I am still struggling with those inadequecies, but am also much more organized and efficient in doing so.
Three weeks ago, at a usual round of the bookstore, i couldn’t resist Neil MacGregor’s ‘Germany – Memories of a Nation’. The book helps you make sense of this country through its Art, monuments, architecture historical figures and events in such a way that the country starts making sense in a whole new light.
The humility, the attention to detail, mastering a subject in real sense simply get embossed in the book as the writer (who has been the director of the National Gallery London and of the British Museum) employs German precision in dissecting the country’s own past. How often does a history book compel you to pull an all-nighter to finish the last 250 pages?
Of course it covers Beer and sausages and football and Hitler and Martin Luther and Bismarck and Marx and Gutenberg’s printing press and Grimm Brothers. But the book goes beyond the obvious.
Understanding experiences of Goethe, Albrecht Dürer, Käthe Kollwitz, Ernst Barlach, Bauhaus culture, Meissen Porcelain and circumstances that pushed them into the creation are awe-inspiring. The sincere earnestness of the Germans at work in the post WW II economy gives a different kind of inspiration.
I feel inclined to read up more about some of these artists and cities and write more in-depth about it here.
The book beautifully talks about how Käthe Kollwitz’s art isn’t sentimental, it has real depth. That resonates on so many levels with the superfluous overtly sentimental outside (especially virtual) world right now.