Specters of Inflation


«Which school of inflation do you belong to?» If the question sounds odd to people in Europe, it will most likely trigger a flood of physical memories, trauma responses, and awkward anecdotes when posed to writers from Latin America. On the occasion of Alan Pauls’ essay for the first issue of Berlin Review, we’ve invited the Argentinian author and his Mexican colleague Cristina Rivera Garza to talk about inflation and its various specters. Join us for a conversation about the difficult, but essential task of writing on money, inflation as lebensform and structure of feeling, and the dangers of becoming complicit with late capitalism’s overproduction of meaning.

Cristina Rivera Garza is a writer, researcher, and professor for Hispanic Studies and creative writing at Houston University. Her latest, highly acclaimed work «Liliana's Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice» appeared in both a Spanish and English version.

Alan Pauls is the author of novels, screenplays, essays, and signature sinuous, gleefully nested sentences. He had lived in Buenos Aires most of his life before moving to Berlin a few years ago.

Alan Paul’s essay «Las cifras de la locura» will be published in the first issue of Berlin Review on February 1, 2024, both in its Argentinian Spanish original and in our German translation. An audio version of this essay, read by Hanns Zischler, is available for subscribers at blnreview.de/audio. Subscribe to the Berlin Review now: blnreview.de/abo.


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 4:45 Running out of Paper
  • 9:16 «Everything Smells of Money» (Reading Excerpt)
  • 11:33 Money Is the F Word of Latin American Literature
  • 14:50 How Cash Controls the Body
  • 18:52 Grotesques of Spending Money
  • 21:57 Is Inflation Addictive?
  • 23:33 The Inflation Gender Gap
  • 26:23 Polarizing Politics of Inflation
  • 30:57 Overproduction of Meaning
  • 34:24 Writing as Desertion in Time
  • 39:22 How Much Fantasy Can We Afford?


Berlin Review Audio is supported by the Berlin Senate Departement for Culture and Social Cohesion.

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