NYT - "From Berlin's Hole of Forgottenness, a Spell of Songs"
"he occupied the roles of damaged characters so completely and genuinely, so uncannily, that it was never quite clear how much he actually understood about what use was being made of him by the director. His performances were riveting, but he was obviously not well mentally, and even as he came across in his own way as knowing, he was at the same time simply being himself, and the question hovered: How much was fiction, how much reality?"
"He has been working on the same painting at least since the late summer, protecting it under layers of newspapers, towels, pens and paint, which he peels away, as one doffs heavy clothing.
The picture shows a vast conflagration. A vase falls from a tottering column, which Bruno explains is the incident that started the fire, a recurring dream he has about Berlin. A man flees; another screams. Above it all the symbol of the city, the Berlin bear, wears a golden crown, surrounded by a rain of black crosses.
“I gave the Berlin bear a solemn crown, but when your mother town is estranged from you, death can’t be far away,” Bruno said, cryptically as usual.
“I wish she could see it," he said, now talking about his mother. “If she did, she would die straightaway of a heart attack because she would see her son’s death.”
He calls her Mrs. Bremse, which translates both as “brake” and “horse fly.” It turns out that he had been playing all those months ago near the church up the street from us because his brother, long dead, used to live in the neighborhood."