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"Ninety years is not such a long time in the scheme of things: the life of a person, if they are lucky; a room just wide enough to touch both walls with outstretched hands. In other places such a building might have seen only the soft swell of progress, but here? Ninety years of drama, followed only by this... "

It is the autumn of 2001 in Berlin. In a once-grand building, on a forgotten corner of the city, an unlikely friendship is about to change two people's lives.

Walter Baum is nearing forty. After a failed attempt to work as an actor in Hollywood sixteen years ago, he's been dubbing the lines of a famous American movie star into German, sitting in the dark, watching his bald spot and beer belly expand while his options and self-confidence diminish. In an identical apartment just downstairs, a young American woman named Hope rarely gets out of the bathtub. Having fled New York a month earlier to join her workaholic husband in Berlin, she is unable to cope with either the unfamiliar city around her or painful memories of the one she just left.

When they meet by chance in the elevator, a sympathy develops, and then deepens, as together they begin to unravel secrets buried in the walls of their building and in their own personal histories. Against the backdrop of Berlin, a once-divided city in the process of reconstructing itself, Hope and Walter finally come to reconcile their hopes for the future with the ache of the past that lingers, permanently, beneath the surface.

Funny and moving, insightful and inspiring, This Must Be the Place is an expertly crafted debut novel about the events that impact us irrevocably and the friendships that make us whole.

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