Book Notes: Sojourn

Book cover of Sojourn by Amit Chaudhuri

Captivatingly random, like getting to know a new place

In some sense, this short novel manages to capture the essence of coming to a new place. The randomness, fleeting encounters, few of them last, getting lost, etc.
In many ways it reminded me of my own first few months after moving to Berlin.

I’ve only gotten slightly irritated by some of the geographical inaccuracies, for example my local U-Bahn station was described as if it were to have two side platforms, while in reality it is a single island platform. I kept wondering if and how geographical fact checking took place in the editorial process. Sometimes the inaccuracies felt like they helped the storytelling, but other times there was no apparent benefit.

Find Soujourn in the Secret Bear Library.


The stores are lit like cathedrals in November, but the crows vying to get in are like droves around temples: intemperate, slightly frivolous.

When you notice mirrors in other people’s homes, you don’t stare into them without seeing them. You encounter them as objects, as part of a fabric.

When I’m lost these days, as I am on my way to Warschauer Strasse, I don’t feel anxious because the streets are familiar. Where I find myself is related to the return of some old memory. I don’t know what the memory is, but I recognise where I am.

We have an appetite for home, as flies do for food. We find it unerringly.

I don’t dismiss the words. Cliché is often the strongest way to convey a truth.