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Settlement (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 29. August 2008

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Provincial Guldenberg is still reeling from World War II when a flood of German refugees arrives from the east, Bernhard Haber's family among them. Life is hard enough - Bernard's father has lost an arm and his carpenter's income. But added to this injury comes an accumulation of insults, as the upright town turns hostile toward the newcomers. After a string of mysterious losses - from the killing of the boy's dog to the unexplained death of his father - Bernhard is set on extracting revenge. Rich with psychological insight, Christopher Hein's acclaimed novel tells Bernhard's story across nearly fifty years, chronicling his remarkable rise from victimized outsider to Guldenberg's most prominent burgher.What began as a geographic dislocation evolves into a personal quest: the thirst for vengeance yields to the deeper need for a home and settling down proves more important than settling grudges. As the socialist state gives way to reunification and capitalism of the 1990's, Hein's masterful, multivoiced narration charts the transformation not just of one man but of an entire nation struggling to leave behind and claim a home.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Christoph Hein, novelist, playwright, and essayist, is one of Europe's most respected literary and political voices. He is the author of the widely translated and internationally acclaimed novels "Willenbrock," "The Distant Lover," and "The Tango Player," among others. A former president of PEN Germany and the winner of several literary prizes, he lives in Berlin.


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Amazon.com: 4 Rezensionen
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Guldenbergers, native vs. refugee, in postwar East Germany 12. Januar 2009
Von K. M. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
When World War II ended, ten-year-old Bernhard Haber and his family came to the small east German town of Guldenberg as refugees. They were part of the German population expelled from their homes when lower Silesia and other lands were transferred to Poland as "recovered" territories. As a schoolmate of Bernhard's recounts, the hard-headed Haber boy told their teacher that he was from Breslau. Herr Voigt demanded a politically correct revision from Bernhard: "[Y]ou come from Wroclaw in the Polish People's Republic. Understand?" After a long, tense standoff, Bernhard acknowledged, "I come from Wroclaw." He then blurted defiantly, "But I was born in Breslau."

Thomas Nicolas, the schoolmate, recollects the hard life of "Pollack" Bernhard. His father lost a hand in the war, severely impairing his ability to ply his trade as a carpenter. Still with Bernhard's help, his modest woodworking shop sustained the family -- until someone burned it down and yet another new beginning had to be made. Bernhard's beloved dog was killed too. Bernhard's reaction was to vow revenge and become harder and even more withdrawn.

Besides Thomas, four other Guldenbergers relate how their lives intersected with that of Bernhard. There is the girlfriend who watched Bernhard get involved with local Party politics in order to strike back at a wealthy farmer, the young man who got jobs from Bernhard smuggling people to the West, Bernhard's seductive sister-in-law who tells the tale of the hot-air balloon ride, and the lumber mill owner with whom Bernhard forms a prosperous business alliance after the fall of the Wall.

Christopher Hein doesn't allow the reader to know Bernhard firsthand. We must rely on these very different and generally not particularly sympathetic outside views of him. This creates a curious and unsettled remoteness. Furthermore, although Bernhard as subject ties SETTLEMENT together, he tends to take a back seat in some of the reminisces as the narrators tells stories about themselves and East Germany as it evolved after the war. For instance, Peter Koller is more wrapped up in his own girlfriend's betrayal and in his rebuilt Adler "limousine." Peter gets to know Bernhard only tangentially and as someone who could conceivably (but not provenly) have betrayed him too.

One is not sure when Bernhard releases his grudges, including one about his father's death, or exactly how he does. Perhaps time, maturity, and investment in the community lessen them. But throughout the novel. one wonders exactly how far Bernhard goes to further his youthful agenda of payback. He and his role in the lives before us are largely inscrutable.

He remains in the shadows, a taciturn person irrevocably shaped by being a refugee, but a man who ultimately prospers despite setback and sorrow. In this he is arguably a symbol of his defeated country which carried its burden and agony largely in silence, but advanced and flourished again in the postwar world.

SETTLEMENT (which of course evokes meanings for a place settled, becoming a permanent resident, and an act of payment) is sometimes too preoccupied with the non-Bernhardian aspects of the narrators' lives to effectively hold attention, but the novel is an unusual and enlightening examination of many of the historical actualities of postwar East Germany such as refugee integration, communist collectivization and property confiscation, postwar values, and the economic changes after reunification. Spend some time with the fictional Guldenbergers to gain some insights into Germany. 3.7 stars.
What we were never told about the East Germany experience following WW2 11. September 2013
Von voyageur - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Verifizierter Kauf
The story is told from the viewpoint of five memoir style narratives of separate characters; each formulating a unique perspective of the protagonist. Within this framework we see how the despotic nature of the East German government becomes more intense the further the distance from the West German border. The tale passes through a microscope how life was for those from the repartioned parts of Poland inherited by East Germany. The new border definition led to the refugee displacement of those Polish nationals trapped within the new border, who became refugees in what had been their own land. How they were then regarded by those chosen to sequester them and reemploy them by force from the government reveals what a dog eat dog miasma all were in.
1 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Friend's Memories 3. März 2009
Von Troy Townsend Jr. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
My best friend who's German was born in Selesia but moved to Berlin during
WWII. His father, whom he never knew, was killed on the Russian Front.
I bought the book for him as a gift. Later, I asked him now he liked it.
He replied, "It was good and bad because it also brought up the bad
memories." It is a well written book.
1 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Not quite what was promised 20. Januar 2009
Von B. Kalama - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I was a bit surprised when the book arrived that it was not quite what I expected. It was not hardbound as promised and had a stamp on the front cover "advance reader's edition - not for sale". There were also quite a few grammatical erros and typos.
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