RaveFriezeWith sleuthing interest and novelistic flair, Kirsty Bell’s The Undercurrents has ruptured familiar terrain. The book’s subject, Berlin, is portrayed as a thing in motion, captured through a compound lens of culture, hard history and memoir ... I flinched while reading these early pages, sensing that a parallel was being drawn between histories of unfathomable cruelty – the holocaust, wartime slaughter and rape of civilians – and the author’s personal trials. This worry was tempered, though, as the book became an associative thesis on the dangers of repression, from gargantuan acts of genocide to the comparatively subtle shames of familial collapse. That this thesis holds together, while encompassing a personal-to-political range so broad as to test the borders of acceptability, may be this book’s most important achievement ... An enchanting and sometimes disturbing symbolism runs through The Undercurrents, as Bell imaginatively weaves the city’s hard factuality with the emotional and physical experience of living in it.