Photo by Lucía Zapata
From the worn corners of David Copperfield to the musty-scented, yellowed pages of Vintage Verse: An Anthology of Poetry in English, the East of Eden International Bookshop sheltered some of the city’s most original treasures and offered good, cheap reads, from coming-of-age novels to cookbooks to tomes on astrophysics, and everything in between.
Not even 10 years old, East of Eden is the latest victim to fall to Friedrichshain’s soaring rents and capitalist investors – a blow felt strongly by an expat community not immune to the woes of gentrification. The shop, which specialised in English-language and antiquarian books, was loved and adored by just about everyone who visited, from students to treasure-hunting tourists to nostalgic grannies to expats and punks.
Born on December 7, 2001, East of Eden will be survived by its owners, Mark Mulholland of Glasgow, Scotland – who now lives in Haiti – and Alan Garvie of Woodbridge, England, a self-taught bookbinder who came to Berlin with a dream in 1996.
What started out with a few dingy books grew into a stock of over 20,000. What remains at the end will be packed into stackable egg boxes and sold, probably at a loss, on Amazon.
Among the mourners are the many stoned lay-abouts and unemployable regulars known to lounge on the old green couch in the cosy Victorian-study-like interior. East of Eden’s welcoming college-dormitory ambiance provided the perfect rainy day backdrop for scanning the chaotic stacks and rows of classics that filled its three tiny rooms.
East of Eden often hosted live music gigs by local and international (mostly acoustic-folk) acts like Kitty Solaris, KC McKanzie, Trike and Comedian Pharmacists. Shows will go on until the bitter end every Tuesday at 20:00 – entry is free.
A service will be held from now until the closing of the casket on August 20: Exberliner readers will receive a special 30 percent discount on all remaining books upon mentioning this obituary.