Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall
by Anna Funder
ISBN: 978-0-06-207732-5
Buy From Indigo

Description: In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police can become a museum literally overnight and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their fellow citizens, there are thousands of captivating stories. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany. She meets Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III; she visits the man who painted the line which became the Berlin Wall; and she gets drunk with the legendary "Mik Jegger" of the east, once declared by the authorities to his face to "no longer to exist." Each enthralling story depicts what it's like to live in Berlin as the city knits itself back together or fails to. This is a history full of emotion, attitude, and complexity.

The Good Stuff
  • Fascinating and brutally honest
  • Learned so much interesting historical information that I am sad to say I never knew
  • Funder's style of writing is very unique and personal
  • Disturbing that these events happened and the people of East Germany had to live under these conditions
  • Many sides of the stories are told, which make it a book you want to discuss
  • Very raw and vivid - no sanitizing of stories to make them more palatable - real and honest
  • Author has obvious respect and compassion for her interview subjects
  • Author extremely observant about minute details that can often tell a story (eg mannerisms,
    tone of voice)
  • Some wonderful stories of resistance, sacrifice and bravery by ordinary people
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Quite depressing at times, I felt myself never wanting to visit Germany at all
  • So heartbreakingly sad and horrific that I had to keep putting it down
  • Some further readings would be nice
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I can only describe it as horror-romance. It's a dumb feeling, but I don't want to shake it. The romance comes from the dream of a better world that the German Communists wanted to build  out of the ashes of their Nazi past; from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. The horror comes from what they did in its name."

"We laugh at the improbability of it, of someone barely more than a child poking about in Beatrix Potter's garden by the wall, watching out for Mr McGregor and his blunderbuss, and lookng for a step-ladder to scale one of the most fortified borders on earth. We both like the girl shew was, and I like the women she has become."

"The hairs on my forearms stand up. I have stopped looking at Julia now because in this dimness she ceased addressing her words to me some time ago. I am humbled for reasons I cannot at this moment unravel. I am outraged for her, and vaguely guilty about my relative luck in life."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • For those with an interest in German History
  • Anyone could benefit from a read of this - history comes alive and you see the personal toil of a Orwellian Government
4 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in Exchange for an Honest Review

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