Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee by Thomas Brussig

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Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee

by Thomas Brussig

Life on the GDR side of divided Berlin with vibrant images and authentic characters of Thomas Brussig's 'Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee'. An uncomplicated third-person narrative introduces us to Michael Kuppisch, his family and friends, and the object of his adolescent affections, Miriam. Micha is just your average teenage boy...but living at the `wrong' end of Sonnenallee, post construction of the wall.

The opening of the book, an amusing reinvented account of the European leaders' decision-making process over Berlin's fate, instantly conveys the attitude held by many a German citizen; the frustration at a country and a life, divided for futile reasons and governed by pedantic rules.

The feeling of underlying dissatisfaction does break through during certain touching episodes in the characters' more poignant reflections.  

Although this less profound style is perhaps not to every reader's taste, it may be ideal for those who enjoy texts from the wave of German 'Pop Literatur'. With its typically witty protagonist, colloquial manner of expression and a narrative enriched with contemporary culture, Brussig does not deviate from this dynamic style that provides the reader with an eyewitness account of both characters and culture.

Filled with memorable images of the Berlin pre-Wende lifestyle, in this novel we can clearly picture the GDR `souvenir' shop, the busloads of Western tourists and the boys' interaction with the border guards. It is also interspersed with allusions to the fanaticism and political subversion surrounding music and the record industry as well as the drugs and alcohol scene.

This collage of culture puts us in a fly-on-the-wall position, creating an almost cinematic experience for readers, which contributes greatly to making it a thoroughly insightful and enjoyable read.