Markus Ziener

DDR, mon amour

Spring, 1981: Robert, a college student from Würzburg, travels to the GDR in his bilious green Renault, in his suitcase a thesis paper about the Defenestration of Prague for his godfather Frieder. Plus: lots of curiosity and a view of the other Germany that is characterized by a yearning for belonging and community. Robert believes that the people in the GDR, an all-controlling state, are in private living a community spirit that no longer exists in the West.

This rosy image is already tainted at the border crossing, where chicanery is commonplace and the paper is confiscated as propaganda material. Conversations with Frieder, an intellectual who has of necessity carved out a niche for himself under ‘actually existing Socialism’, and meeting party members, secret dissidents, exiles and potential political refugees open up new perspectives on his own world for Robert.

DDR, mon amour is a novel about a German-German friendship during the time of the Wall, about ideals, longings and the oftentimes bizarre realities in divided Germany.