Berlin Novel Now Available From Online Retailers

Facts About Novel

Harper Lee has nothing on Owen Levy where a lapse between publishing first and second novels is concerned. His long awaited Goodbye Heiko, Goodbye Berlin debuts nearly 35 years since his well-received seminal gay-oriented novel A Brother’s Touch published in 1982.

“Touch” was first mass market paperback given critical coverage in daily edition of The New York Times. Reviewed by Newgate Callender, by-line pseudonym for Harold Schoenberg, the paper’s Pulitzer Prize winning music critic at the time. His restrained praise for the work of fiction sent books flying out of stores nationwide. Mass market publisher Pinnacle Books quickly ordered a Second Printing.

With little fanfare Levy took advantage of modern publishing platforms to debut "Goodbye Heiko, Goodbye Berlin." His astonishing saga is set in Cold War Berlin before and after German Reunification. As resident “Auslander” Levy witnessed the near overnight ‘Wende’ or ‘change-over’.

His insider’s view reveals seldom described alternative lifestyles and a cultural underground that existed in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) even under the grip of Soviet domination. As well, the nascent anti-communist sentiment that eventually led to East Germany’s unceremonious demise.

"Goodbye Heiko, Goodbye Berlin’s" candid assessment is sure to generate discussion, even controversy. The title echoes Christopher Isherwood’s celebrated 1930’s Berlin story-collections.

Levy’s sprawling account of a gender-bending East Berlin wunderkind Heiko Heinz’s rise to prominence is narrated by an African-American expatriate he befriends who is unable to shake an overwhelming infatuation. Their intertwining fates parallel Germany’s unprecedented rebuilding and reinvention.

Levy, one-time Broadway press agent, whose credits include original Studio 54 pr team, BAM, Lincoln Center and NY Shakespeare Festival, spent over a decade living in West Berlin covering film and music for industry trades Variety and Billboard, among others. He was a familiar figure among international journalists reporting on the Berlinale, the city’s annual film festival.

"A Brother’s Touch," his cautionary tale of throwaway youth told against backdrop of emerging post-Stonewall activism generated controversy. The “gay PC police,” chagrined by the book’s frank look at gritty gay lifestyles, conspired to diminish novel’s impact.

Attacked in gay press, NY’s pioneering gay bookstore refused to stock the first year. (Ironically Midwest bookseller adopted title for his store name.) Novel appeared on lists of banned books with many celebrated titles in American literature.

Goodbye Heiko, Goodbye Berlin

(294 Pages)

Publisher:, Inc.


Available in 3 formats:

[ISBN # 978-1-63490-734-7]

Trade Paperback
[ISBN # 978-1-63490-733-0]

eBook (All Devises) $8.99

Available exclusively Online
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Goodbye Heiko, Goodbye Berlin

Cover Art: Jessie Brugger -- Design: Todd Engel

Isherwood's collections of stories inspired by the years he lived in Berlin as reinterpreted in the stage musical Cabaret has been one of the 20th Century's most celebrated literary transformations.

A City Divided Then Reunited After Fall Of Infamous Berlin Wall

Lebwohl Heiko, Lebwohl Berlin

Photo Credit: The Author
Berliners and visitors milling spontaneously around remnants of the Wall that kept the city's landmark memorial Brandenburg Gate in East Berlin throughout the years of the Cold War. Apparently during the postwar Allied division, Josef Stalin recognized the historic value of the Medieval built city center and appropriated for the Soviet Bloc some prime historic real estate including the remains of the last Czar's city palace. The less history-conscious Americans cheerfully gave up some of the city's plum properties and occupied the late 19th Century-built West End. In a way it was fortunate. The GDR never had funds for proper restorations. It was discovered that many buildings in the East still bore traces of bullet used for the street by street combat that took place in the final days of WWII. In many instances time had stood still in the East.

Photo Credit: The Author
The historic breach of the Berlin Wall eventually provided a temporary cottage industry with hard-won wall chippings marketed as souvenirs. Unlike the Third Reich the Berlin Wall was clearly built to last 1000 years. It's removal was a huge undertaking that was certainly helped by the hourdes of souvenir entreprenuers who with stone cutting tools in hand spent day after day creating retail-able packets of the infamous fortress. Small samples and eventually even whole blocks made their way around the world. Apparently a little known fact of the wall might have discouraged some. Among materials the East Germans used to create the super-strong barricade was toxic asbestos mixed in with the cement. So every little puff of dust generated by chipping was potentially fatal.

Cold War Berlin As Never Before Portrayed in Contemporary Fiction

Through much of the 1980's & 1990's, I got to know the city of Berlin inside out, as a journalist covering the music and film scene for trade publications including Variety and Billboard. And an annual stint as contributor to the Berlin International Film Festival daily magazine.

What struck me almost immediately was that a city so ravaged by tensions and division still boasted all of the underground alternative cultures, scenes and venues usually associated with world capitols such as my native New York. Amazingly to some extent it was mirrored in the repressive East despite diligence of the Secret Police and network of citizen informers.

Soon I discovered thriving gay scenes: a growing, diversified group of men and women who defied Cold War tensions to put their own unique spin on life on both sides of the infamous wall. Inspired by what I saw, and fusing fact and fiction, my compelling new novel was born.

‘Goodbye Heiko, Goodbye Berlin’ is a moving if unconventional tale of unrequited gay love and transgender reinvention. “Gay” and “Cold War” are rarely used in the same sentence. But, as readers of the novel will soon discover, they can co-exist.