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Siblings

Siblings

“I love when cult classics in other languages are finally available in English, and this East German novel is no exception. Brigitte Reimann writes in a clear-eyed and incisive way. I couldn't put it down.”

Rachel S.

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"Name one East German novelist. I’ll wait. The scarcity of translated literature from the former socialist countries alone should put this wonderful novel about an East German bohemian painter coming to terms with her favorite brother’s potential defection to the West in your hands. Reimann's prose is witty, poetic, and politically astute."

Dan D.

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Author Brigitte Reimann, Lucy Jones (Translated by)
Publisher Transit Books
Publication Date 2023-02-21
Section Fiction / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Dan D. / Rachel S.
Type New
Format Paperback
ISBN 9781945492662

New Yorker Best Book of 2023

A story of sibling love ruptured by the Iron Curtain, by one of the most significant East German writers.

“I will never forgive you,” Uli says to his sister Elisabeth. It is 1960 and the border between East and West Germany has long been closed. Their brother Konrad has already fled to the West. Disillusioned by life in the East, Uli also dreams of escape, while Elisabeth still holds out hope for the political project of the GDR. With physical checkpoints and ideological tensions between them, the siblings must navigate emotional rifts as they enter into a drama fueled by love in this unflinching portrayal of life in the early years of the German Democratic Republic.

One of the most significant East German writers, Brigitte Reimann (1933–1973) wrote irreverent, autobiographical works that addressed issues and sensibilities otherwise repressed in the GDR. Outspoken and idealistic, she wrote in her diaries that she would rather “live 30 wild years instead of 70 well-behaved ones.” Considered a master of socialist realism, she heeded the state’s call for artists to engage with the people, teaching writing classes for industrial plant workers. Of her generation’s suffering, she wrote to her brother, “We marched forth carrying such a heavy baggage of ideals.” After her death from cancer in 1973, at age 39, Reimann garnered cult-like attention. This is her first work of fiction to appear in English.

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