Bettina Baltschev begins her journey to Europe’s beaches on a beach on the North Sea. Starting from eight beaches in eight countries, she goes on excursions into the present and into the history of places of yearning that, for some, are a last resort. She writes of true and fictitonal, happy and tragic fates on beaches – on the edge of our world.
A book that changes how you look at the world. The way Bettina Baltschev writes about beaches makes you see the border between sea and land as never before. In Ostend, Max Beckmann writes: “If I were emperor of the earth, I would request as my supreme right to spend a month every year alone on the beach.” Bettina Baltschev is familiar with this heaven on earth. Yet, in her inspiring essay, she also reveals beaches as places of politics and history. She takes her readers to Dunkirk with Winston Churchill (“We shall fight on the beaches ...”) and to Utah Beach in Normandy with J.D. Salinger on D-Day, and describes the suffering and misery of the migrants on the Beach of Refugees in Lesbos today.
Bettina Baltschev, born in Berlin in 1973, studied cultural studies, journalism and philosophy in Leipzig and Groningen. She is managing director of the Sächsischer Literaturrat (Saxon Literature Council), an author and editor for the regional broadcaster MDR, and commutes between Leipzig and her second home in Amsterdam. Most recently, Berenberg published “Hölle und Paradies. Amsterdam, Querido und die deutsche Exilliteratur” (Hell and Paradise. Amsterdam, Querido and German Literature in Exile) (2016).