Tuesday, November 08, 2005


The irony!
My cousin gave me for my graduation the book I should have written. DAMMIT. It is called Zonenkinder (Children of the Zone), by Jana Hensel, an East German chica who has experienced the fall of the Wall and the breakdown of the East Bloc at the same age as me, and goes on to review her childhood and what it is like to have lost your culture and the childhood connected to it pretty much overnight. It has even made it onto school’s reading lists. Apparently, it is also somewhat controversial, because with books like these, people tend to see it as representative of that historical period, but no historical book has made me more aware of its subjectivity. There are a lot of things in there which are almost identical to my own experiences, but I guess what she does is to describe her childhood both in a nostalgic but also distanced, ironic way, and that kinda screws up the whole “true” experience of childhood in East Germany.
What makes her book interesting is that it makes you realise the fickleness of your memories. What did really happen to you, what did you just see on TV, what was what you felt, what was the media frenzy? How do you know that what you write in retrospect was really what you felt at the time?
Maybe I'll write my own version, if I can be arsed.

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