MARK BELL, an unconventional Jewish businessman, finds himself reading Primo Levi while on a business trip in Munich.
Everyone he meets is kind. The Levi text, full of Nazi brutality, contrasts with modern Germany. The experience is confusing, tense and, finally, profoundly distressing.
"And that's what Munich was like. Everything happened in it. And you know who I met one day? As I was coming out from the theatre buying my tickets, you know who I bumped into? Guess. Guess…Bertolt Brecht! Yes! And after we said sorry for bumping into each other, I said 'You're Bertolt Brecht, aren't you?' And he said 'Sometimes! Sometimes I'm Bertolt Brecht.' So I asked him 'Are you Bertolt Brecht today?' And he said 'It depends who I meet!' So I said 'Herr Brecht, my name is Anton Mendelssohn, I run a little secondhand bookshop on the Kaiserstrasse, I'm a great admirer of your work.' And he smiled at me and he said 'then today I'm Bertolt Brecht!'"