Sample Saturday – East German fact and fiction

Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. This week, all three came from Lizzy’s Literary Life East German recommendations.

Beyond The Wall: East Germany 1949-1989 by Katja Hoyer

Summary: When the Iron Curtain fell in 1990, East Germany simply ceased to be. Yet, for over forty years, the GDR presented a radically different German identity to anything that had come before, and anything that exists today. Hoyer argues that amid oppression and frequent hardship, East Germany was home to a rich political, social and cultural landscape, a place far more dynamic than the Cold War caricature often painted in the West.

I’m thinking: Yes.

The Short End of The Sonnenallee by Thomas Brussig (Translated from German by Jonathan Franzen and Jenny Watson)

Summary: A satire set on the famed ‘boulevard of the sun’ in East Berlin. On the boulevard lives Michael, an adolescent who faces daily ridicule whenever he steps out of his apartment building and comes into view of the observation platform on the West side. Hopelessly in love with the most beautiful girl on the street, Michael is batted away in favour of the Western boys who are free to cross the border.

I’m thinking: No.

Siblings by Brigitte Reimann (Translated from German by Lucy Jones)

Summary: 1960. The border between East and West Germany has closed. For Elisabeth – a young painter – the GDR is her generation’s chance to build a glorious, egalitarian socialist future. For her brother Uli, it is a place of stricture and oppression. Separating them is the ever-wider chasm of the Party line.

I’m thinking: Yes (and marking it for #GermanLitMonth and #NovNov)

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