Distant Signs is an intimate portrait of two families spanning three generations amidst turbulent political change, behind and beyond the Berlin Wall. In 1960s East Germany, Margret, a professor's daughter from the city, meets and marries Hans, from a small village in Thuringia. The couple struggle to contend with their different backgrounds, and the emotional scars they bear from childhood in the aftermath of war. As East German history gradually unravels, with collision of the personal and political, their two families' hidden truths are quietly revealed. An exquisitely written novel with strongly etched characters that stay with you long after the book is finished and an authentic portrayal of family life behind the iron curtain based on personal experience of the author who is East German and was 16 years old at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Why do families repeat destructive patterns of behaviour across generations? Should the personal take precedence over the political? Can we rise above our histories and political identities to forge a new understanding of the past and to welcome change?
A very beautiful story as told in first person by the author 1st person is my favorite genere.
This a very deep read and thought provoking detail about GDR, the post war and the fall of the wall in Berlin.
I well remember when the wall came down in Berlin and the political aspects that surrounded it. I was 21 that year. I couldn't imagine how the people of Germany felt about that after being separated for a long time.
I think I really liked the scene that opens in the beginning. The relationship between Ann and her father sort of reminds me of my dad's and mine. But I dont think I'd ever dared what she did. I applaud her. My dad would have disowned me if I did that or probably slapped my face.
Margaret and Hans I really admired and liked them. If two people really love each other does it matter what background they're from? I mean, isn't what is inside the heart count?
I guess secrets always do come out eventually. I think it would eat you up inside to keep secrets like that. I know it would me.
This book is a slow read but I guarantee you will learn quite a bit from this story. It's the reason I love historical fiction.
My mom grew up in the 60's. I was born in the late 60's so I pretty much missed all of that.
My thanks to the author for a copy of this book. NO compensations were received. All opinions are my own.
About the Author
Anne Richter was born in 1973 in Jena, in the former German Democratic Republic. Her degree in Romance languages and English included study periods in England, Italy and France. In 2011, Anne was nominated for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, a highly regarded German-language literary award. Her debut novel, Distant Signs, was published in Germany in 2013. Anne is currently writing her second novel.
Douglas Irving is Scottish. He studied German and Spanish at Aberdeen University. In 2014 he completed a Masters in Translation at Glasgow University. His first translation, Crossing: A Love Story by Anna Seghers was published in 2016 in the US to positive reviews. His translation of Anna Seghers’ last work published in her lifetime, Three Women from Haiti, is set to follow.
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