Archive for September, 2004

Anna Funder, ‘Stasiland’

StasilandWe met at Peter’s place to consider the legacy of East Germany.

Peter fed us with a range of gorgeous German food and we heard some great stories from Utter – a bookgroup ring-in -of crossing the border into East Germany in the 70’s.

I also heard a great story from anna funder talking about touring Germany to discuss/promote the book. She said that in East Germany a lot of ex-Stasi would turn up. They said nothing but you could tell who they were because they all dress the same – vinyl jackets. So dig out the vinyl jackets before you sit down to read this post. In my imagination i’d like to think they also wore moustaches and bad wigs – so dig those out as well.

The impression left on Bookgroupers appeared to be a kind of bewilderment as to what it is like to be an East German that has lived through three systems in quick succession, each claiming to know the truth with great certainty – the Nazis, the Stasi, and now capitalism.

The book seems to suggest that many of them are scarred and may, understandably, have difficulty adapting to the sudden changes that have occurred between these systems

Trish couldn’t make it to the Bookgroup but made the following comments on Stasiland.
– I enjoyed it but it wasn’t as indepth as I was expecting, I think I wanted more from it. Not sure if that “more” is , more detail, more individual stories, more…just more.
– It reminded me of a handheld movie, in that we discovered as she did, rather than her doing her research and then presenting it. This is not a negative comment, just an observation.
– The big impression it made is that she didn’t have to search too hard for stories as people like Julia who says “I don’t have a Stasi story”…..and then the total control of her life by the Stasi comes out. It was so much part of their lives that they didn’t know any different , and in fact didn’t always now it was happening, and it obviously was involved in EVERYBODY’S life.
– The characters were great, a feature of amazing people to write about or good writing? not sure.
– Overall, I enjoyed it, it talked about the East Germany I saw briefly in 1978 and it makes me sad for the East Germans, they had a hard time before the wall came down and a hard time after as it was really a case of West Germany taking over the East and people and things they weren’t interested in got pretty short shift.
– Last thing is the cover!! I really can’t see the relevance of it and would love to be enlightened.

I must admit I wondered the same thing about the cover.

I also have a question – does anyone know of a book that explains the fall of the soviets and the wall, particularly why it happened at that time, and how it happened?


September 26, 2004 at 7:19 am Leave a comment


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