27 August 09 | Chad W. Post

In addition to Selcuk Altan’s Turkish lit list, The Guardian also posted a top ten list of books about the Berlin Wall.

Suzanne Munshower’s list—which is presented in a narrative format with interesting details about each of the books—actually overlaps a bit with The Wall in My Head the book about the Berlin Wall that we’re bringing out on November 9th. Specifically, she mentions both Peter Schneider and Wladimir Kaminer, who both have pieces in WIMH:

Some stayed, some left, some died trying. And Peter Schneider’s The Wall Jumper tells their stories in what might be the best Wall fiction ever written. Living in the west of this metropolis, the narrator confesses, “I could orient myself better in New York than in the half-city just a little over three miles from my apartment.” Written in 1982, with the end nowhere in sight, this is a riveting portrait of a city and a people trapped by mental as well as physical walls. [. . .]

Finally, there are two post-Wall books that shouldn’t be missed: The File by Guardian columnist Timothy Garton Ash and Russian Disco by Wladimir Kaminer.

When Garton Ash returned to Berlin 15 years after living there and requested his Stasi binder, it was passed to him with the words: “You have a very interesting file.” Thereby hangs a tale, and we join him in disinterring the entries, skipping between his former life as a research student and later confrontations with the friends and colleagues who had once informed on him.

Shortly before Garton Ash revisited Berlin, Kaminer arrived, emigrating from Russia to later become Berlin’s most famous DJ and then a best-selling author. His gently sardonic Russian Disco is a collection of wry sketches best summed up by its subtitle, Tales of Everyday Madness on the Streets of Berlin. This East Berlin is closest to the trendy but still edgy east side of the city as it exists today.

If you’d like to see the entire text of Wall in My Head, just click here.-


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