Thursday, 8 December 2011

Tellkamp, Uwe "The Tower"

Tellkamp, Uwe "The Tower" (Der Turm. Geschichte aus einem versunkenen Land) - 2008

I loved this book and couldn't wait to recommend it to all my friends. Now it was translated! Go, read it.

Uwe Tellkamp describes life in East Germany in the 1980s. I grew up in the Western part of the country and - as most of us - didn't have any contacts to the East. Which means I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the lives depicted. But I do have a feeling that it's pretty close, yet, not for everyone, only those who lived a more privileged life because of their jobs.

The length of the book enabled the author to go into so many details of so many different characters. Without that, he would have had to restrict himself to fewer characters or a more superficial description.

Of course, Christian Hoffmann was the protagonist, and I loved his portrayal. But my favourite character was Meno Rohde because he seemed the most "alive".

I certainly want to read more of this author and more of other GDR authors.

I read the original German edition of this novel.

From the back cover:
"In derelict Dresden a cultivated, middle-class family does all it can to cope amid the Communist downfall. This striking tapestry of the East German experience is told through the tangled lives of a soldier, surgeon, nurse and publisher. With evocative detail, Uwe Tellkamp masterfully reveals the myriad perspectives of the time as people battled for individuality, retreated to nostalgia, chose to conform, or toed the perilous line between East and West. Poetic, heartfelt and dramatic, The Tower vividly resurrects the sights, scents and sensations of life in the GDR as it hurtled towards 9 November 1989."

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