This is a powerful testament of the minds of young Germans in , facing a division that allowed no middle ground, no moderate and common sense objectivity. On the ruins of their horrific totalitarian past, they have to make sense of the senseless reality that is on offer. Private loss and grief hardly play any role at all, but it exists nonetheless - heartbreakingly real to those who are forced to choose sides! Powerful, powerful reading, by one of the most prominent German authors of the era.
Highly recommended, as a love story, as a historical witness account, as a piece of writing on the universal questions of humankind in any given environment! View all 21 comments. There was a moment while reading this when I thought how fascinating it would have been had Christa Wolf stepped out of her narrative and related in a mirror narrative how difficult it is to write a novel when you live in a repressive regime that will inevitably censor your work.
Repressive regimes might provide inspiration in abundance but what artist would choose to li There was a moment while reading this when I thought how fascinating it would have been had Christa Wolf stepped out of her narrative and related in a mirror narrative how difficult it is to write a novel when you live in a repressive regime that will inevitably censor your work. Repressive regimes might provide inspiration in abundance but what artist would choose to live in a country where everything created would be subjected to rigorous petty-minded censorship?
The first thirty pages were a joy to read. But then the politics begin. And they bored me silly. The novel is about the love affair of Rita and Manfred. Manfred will betray the relationship by defecting to the West not a spoiler as we learn this almost immediately since the novel is recounted in flashback.
Wolf goes overboard in making Manfred unlikeable from the word go.
Despite being ten years older than Rita he lives with his parents who he treats with venomous contempt like a feckless teenager, a rebel without a cause. Rita on the other hand is too good to be true. I feel I owe Hardy some praise after giving him such an unequivocal clubbing last month! Manfred too becomes jealous of Rita, though without reason. Rita receives her political education when she works at a plant where train carriages are made. Lots of dreary writing about production methods and high-minded point-scoring political squabbling.
My feeling was, Manfred was right to grow weary of it all! What Wolf does brilliantly in this novel is write of a young woman in love for the first time. Perhaps she was young enough in those days to believe in the Communist dream; thankfully her critical faculties were greatly more sharpened and refined in her later work. View all 22 comments.
Scroll for my review. It made Christa Wolf's reputation, and has long been seen as the most thoughtful, poignant account of the diversity of the two Germanys as seen from the East. It tells the story of Rita and Manfred, young lovers living in the East before the Wall was built, when travel from East to West Berlin was still easy. The divided heaven: two separate and separated political structures, two irreconcilable ways of organizing hopes and desires.
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Memories of a Nation. Some pages in I was already pleasently surprised just by the style, the well chosen words, the pictures Wolf paints. She continues to write a story so well composed also in other aspects: all the dimensions - characters, feelings, personal relations, business, politics - are very well arranged and the story felt real to me. Wolf manages to depict both the historical or political context and the individual love story but she doesn't shine too much of a light on one of them. This made me feel very much part of it all.
If you like and finish the book, re-read the first pages or maybe everything right after which made me appreciate the book even more. View 1 comment. May 17, Mariele rated it did not like it Shelves: xxx-too-dull-to-finish , german-language. I just wrote a very wordy review, and it vanished. Well then, in short: This is Christa Wolf's first book, written in When it was published, it dealt with current affairs, as the story takes place shortly before the Berlin Wall is being built. However, reading it 50 years later, the book feels very dated and stilted.
I thoroughly enjoyed some of her books, namely how Wolf has dug deeper and deeper into history with every new book she published. And I enjoyed the tales of how Cassandra and Medea are witness to the political demise of the privileged environment they live in. Christa Wolf is always political. But this is my second book of hers that I could not finish. The love story was about as romantic as an arranged marriage. All those polemic dialogues between Rita and her co workers at the factory, and between Manfred and his academia colleagues dulled down the story considerably.
I never started to care about any of the characters in the book. Even though it is short, I could not bear to finish it. On page I started to browse, reading only the first line of the paragraphs. On page , I gave up. Life is too short for boring books like this. Apr 18, Julia Reim rated it did not like it. This was lame af. Can't believe I've read this. Would totally not recommend. Too much plot that doesn't serve any purpose. Feels like curling up on an armchair on a rainy day with a book in your lap.
This isn't like the other Christa Wolf novels I've read-- it's less striking, less strange. It's more directly political and more conventional. You can kind of tell it's her first novel-- but not because it isn't good. It's excellent. The central relationship isn't the type that I would normally care about-- but I did care about it. I don't know enough about the political climate she's working in to fully appreciate tha Feels like curling up on an armchair on a rainy day with a book in your lap. I don't know enough about the political climate she's working in to fully appreciate that aspect of the novel.
But a I enjoyed it anyway because there's so much more to it and b I'm glad to have gotten some more exposure to it. Wolf paints some interesting portraits and writes beautifully.
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Overall good space to inhabit for a bit. This is both a love story and a critique of the Socialist system of s East Germany. Set in and in East Germany before the wa This is both a love story and a critique of the Socialist system of s East Germany. During breaks from her studies Rita works in a factory which makes railway carriages and Wolf uses that environment as a microcosm of the socialism of that time. An English translation was published in but as Luise von Flotow, the translator of this edition, explains in the introduction, what English speakers read was a version which effectively removed all political comment from the text.
Christa Wolf went on the be recognized internationally as one of the greatest writers to come out of Eastern Germany and this recent and faithful translation of her first great novel gives English-speaking readers a powerful and gripping understanding of why she merited that reputation. This probably needs to be read in the context of other works of German fiction both before and after the War.
On its own, I'm not sure it would really engage someone coming from the outside. But if you have some exposure to 20th century German fiction, then this is a wonderful piece of that puzzle.
It offers an intimate study of life behind the 'Iron Curtain' at a sensitive time - when the Berlin wall was being built. I have to admit I found it hard to get into the book, but that's partly becaus This probably needs to be read in the context of other works of German fiction both before and after the War. I have to admit I found it hard to get into the book, but that's partly because the central character is recovering from a breakdown and her perspective is understandably woolly.
But the pace picked up and I became quite attached to her by mid-point in the novel. There are some wonderfully quotable bits here, and occasionally lyric passages. But it's about moral choices and political ideology, which may not suit everyone. May 24, Jeffrey Manners rated it liked it Recommends it for: anyone interested in life in East Germany.
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Shelves: overijse-library. A curious time capsule. Although Christa Wolff's novel does not give us an uncritical view of East German society, her main characters experience the range of human emotions and must face life's difficult decisions.
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Does love triumph? Does love lose out? And what can love demand or expect of another person in regard to which society they wish to live in? Christa Wolff's novel tries to address these questions.
Dec 05, Rosemary rated it liked it. Read this at university and taught it in a German literature class as a German teacher some years afterwards. Remember really enjoying it. What a slog. Feb 23, Eddie rated it liked it. Has that first novel awkwardness, although interesting setting and some nice turns of phrase.