Cities in Fiction: Perambulations with John Berger
Culture & Organization, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 197-210, 2010
22 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2008 Last revised: 26 Jul 2011
Date Written: December 2, 2008
This paper explores three John Berger novels in which cities play a central role. Lilac and Flag: An Old Wives' Tale of the City (1990) is set in the harsh urban reality of Troy, an imaginary Uber-Metropolis. King: A Street Story (1999) unfolds in a similar unforgiving urban setting. Here is Where We Meet (2005) offers an amalgam of novel, essay and autobiography in which a character called John Berger meets his beloved dead in various European cities. In wreaking 'tender devastation' in these books, Berger makes the real, the possible, and the impossible co-exist, thus bringing out the spectral dimension of given realities. My reading of the novels allows me rethink important themes in discussions on the nature of contemporary capitalism, in particular those of resistance and universality.
Keywords: novel, berger, capitalism, resistance
JEL Classification: Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation