In the twilight years of Communist East Germany, Bruno Krug, author of a single world-famous novel written twenty years earlier, falls for Theresa Aden, a music student from the West. But Theresa has also caught the eye of a cocky young scriptwriter who delights in satirizing Krug's work.
Asked to appraise a mysterious manuscript, Bruno is disturbed to find that the author is none other than his rival. Disconcertingly, the book is good - very good. But there is hope for the older man: the unwelcome masterpiece is dangerously political. Krug decides that if his affair with Theresa is to prove more than a fling, he must employ a small deception. But in the Workers' and Peasants' State, knowing the deceiver from the deceived, the betrayer from the betrayed, isn't just difficult: it can be a matter of life and death.
This subtle, brilliantly plotted story will remind many readers of von Donnersmarck's Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others.
By creating a charming narcissist who has gotten himself into a troubling scrape, Philip Sington allows us an intimate and evolving portrait of life behind the Iron Curtain. Sington’s novel contemplates serious subjects, but the narrative is often light-hearted and funny. (Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
The fictional character of Bruno Krug gained international fame with a literary blockbuster The Orphans of Neustadt, but when we meet him at the beginning of his story, he is busy writing simple stories - called the Factory Gate Fables - about life in Actually Existing Socialism. These stories represent typical literature in the U.S.S.R and Soviet-occupied countries in the mid-20th century that correspond with the theory of Socialist Realism. Socialist Realism extends to other art forms but was officially adopted by the Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934 and codified the state's expectations for writers. Socialist Realism demanded that authors create literature that depicted man's struggle towards socialist progress in pursuit of a better life. Literature was required to serve the proletariat by being realistic, optimistic, heroic, and complimentary of the State. Any experimental writing was discouraged.
Understandably, many writers struggled with these strict rules, and some were punished for continuing to create literature that was considered degenerate,...
Set in the weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dr. Rudi Rosenharte, formerly a Stasi foreign agent, is sent to Trieste to rendezvous with his old lover and agent, Annalise Schering. The problem: Rudi knows shes dead.
In the long-awaited follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag, acclaimed journalist Anne Applebaum delivers a groundbreaking history of how Communism took over Eastern Europe after World War II and transformed in frightening fashion the individuals who came under its sway.
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