Readux Books Blog

Readux Series 5—Urban Voids: Berlin and Paris

In Series 5, Readux presents pieces that explore the continent’s two leading cities—by examining the places that are marginal, ignored, vacant, or destroyed. Whether walking their fraying edges, or probing the absences that lie at their centers, these pieces prove that the truest portrait is sometimes glimpsed from the corner of your eye, and that the best history is sometimes a ghost story.

Adding to our growing library of texts about Berlin, Annett Gröschner explores the lacunae at the heart of our city in City Spaces, from buildings wiped off of the map by city planners and bombs, to longtime Berlin residents whose absence is sorely missed. And every once in a while, a gap gets filled in.

Paul Scraton leaves the city to find it in his account of following the Panke River from the Berlin district of Wedding to its source. The Idea of A River is a journey to the margins of the metropolis that shows how essential they are to the center. It’s a project that has resonances with…

Francis Tabouret’s travels around the outskirts of Paris—following the course of a suburban commuter railway, as well as a ring road around the city—presented in Suburban Wonder. What do you see when you slow down and look at the places normally only viewed as a blur from a car or express train window?

And finally, perhaps our quirkiest offering in this series is A Little Guide to the Fifteenth Arrondissement for the Use of Phantoms by Roger Caillois. Caillois uses the unusual architecture of Paris’s fifteenth arrondissement to imagine the supernatural beings that inhabit it—or is it that he lures us onto an enriching architectural tour with the thrill of a good ghost story?

Series Five is now available for preorder and will be released on March 2nd.