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Uwe Tellkamp's novel "The Tower"

Uwe Tellkamp: The Tower (Der Turm)

Hardcover | 1000 pages | ISBN 9783518420201 | Sep 2008 | Suhrkamp Verlag

English excerpt

The book: From their grimly dilapidated Dresden residential district, nurse and surgeon Anne and Richard Hoffmann observe the downfall of a social system. They shut themselves off, because they belong to a group that socialism does not really allow for: the educated classes. They love family music and reading, and they cultivate intellectual debate. But a repressive society demands conformity. Wanting to study medicine, their son Christian suffers the full force of the system in the People's Army, whilst Richard's cousin Niklas Tietze takes refuge in nostalgia. Uncle Meno Rohde lives between worlds: in exile in Moscow he has access to the strange "Ostrom" district, home to the nomenklatura and where people's careers are managed and German democratic justice is dispensed.
In epic language, in both lovingly detailed and dramatic scenes, Uwe Tellkamp creates a monumental panorama of the declining GDR, in which three generations drift towards the maelstrom of the 1989 revolution, in part actively, in part helplessly.

The author: Uwe Tellkamp was born in Dresden in 1968. After national service in the People's Army, he lost his university place because of "political unreliability", was arrested in 1989 in the course of the change-over, continuing his studies afterwards in Leipzig, New York and Dresden. He was later a doctor at a clinic in Dresden and now lives in Freiburg as a writer. Awards for his literary achievements include the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis (2004) and the Uwe-Johnson-Preis (2008).
Photo: © Brigitte Friedrich - let's talk european