FROM A BOY TO THE MAN FROM EAST TO WEST

settlement

TITLE – SETTLEMENT BY CHRISTOPH HEIN

SOURCE – LIBRARY

Christoph Hein is considered on of germanys foremost writers ,he is a former chairman of German PEN ,he has written 20 plus novels and won numerous awards since the early eighties ,he lived originally in east germany .

The book follows the life of Bernard Haber who is resettled as a small boy with his family to the East German town of GuldenBerg,the story is told through five narrators all that where close to Bernard at various times through his life ,the inital struggle and problems being the new family in town with a father that has injuries through the second world war we find his struggles at school told by one of his young school friends that tries to help Bernhard after his dog dies ,then we met his first girlfriend,a school friend from Bernhard’s later school years that joins him in smuggling people out of the old east germany ,then his rather nasty sister-in-law and finally through reunification with his business partner of later years ,  Bernard’s rise in the towns society mainly due to his own stubbornness .

Eighteen months after resettling in our town ,Carpenter Haber went to the Rathaus (town hall ) to apply for a trade license .he present whatever documents he had managed to save along with two affidavits in lieu of papers he could not provide from lower Silesia .over the next two summers he continued to help with the harvest and worked in Grissels fields ,as he and his family couldn’t live off the little he earned doing woodwork .

Bernhard father struggles to provide for his son after being unable to trade as a full carpenter in Guldenberg .

I really enjoyed this book as I had an earlier HeinI d read , there is a seamless quality to the narrator he seems to jump from teens to women and men with much ease ,the story is more a story for the whole of east germany post ww2 and the people from east germany that on a certain level have struggled to cope with reunification ,we see the danger and corruption via the smuggling Bernhard does and also the fact at one point he is blackmailed ,the mess of post war germany is touched families spilt removed from the areas of Poland they had settled in forced back to germany like Bernhard yet view by the locals as unworthy .the translation is very good but it has been listed for a couple of prizes like IMPAC already so must be good .Tom at a common reader also reviewed this book a while ago here is his view .

WINSTONS SCORE

 

The  berlin wall is ultimate simple of the east german regime an eyesore and barrier at the same time ,although Joseph Beuys once said it would fit in better if raised by so much as it suit skyline better !! .

September 2010
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Archives

%d bloggers like this: