Colder Layers of Air
Hermann Hesse Preis, 2007
Rheingau Literaturpreis, 2007
Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse, 2007
Set at a lakeside summer camp for youths in Sweden, the staff is composed of drop-outs, nature freaks, adventure seekers-rootless wanderers from the German east, who since the fall of the Wall have been perpetually living as citizens of a non-existent country, as foreigners in their own land. They come to this stretch of nature to escape civilization, to forget their precarious future, and pretend the past doesn't exist. The action is seen through the eyes of the androgynous first person narrator Anja, an unemployed lighting technician for a rundown theater, who has come to escape the small town misery of her past, and the frightening sense she is becoming a loser. The other main characters are Ralf, an ex-border patrolman haunted by the break-up of his marriage, Svenja, a medical school drop-out from the west, Sabine, the "half-Indian", who spent time in America with a shaman, and a scattering of other "wanderers" from both sides of the invisible divide.
Snowed Under - Red Hen Press, Los Angeles 2008
Snowed Under is an episodic novel composed of thirteen connected short stories. The action takes place in a small East Euroean ski resort called Harrachov, during the chaotic period following the fall of the Wall. Though the rapid process of Westernization has already begun making inroads into he sleepy town, traces of the defunct socialist regime cannot be erased from its residents' memories or their way of doing things: The postmaster continues to "inspect" letters even if the old secret service has long since been deposed; the barkeeper blackmails a West German investor so he can finance a trip around the world; Adina, the last teenager in the town, searches for a new identity over the internet.
Tupolew 134 – that was the make of the Polish airliner scheduled to fly from Danzig to Schönefeld (East Berlin) on 30th August 1978. In the event it was captured by two East Germans hijackers and forced to land in Tempelhof in West Berlin instead. The hijackers, a man and a young woman fleeing East Germany for the West, were later tried on the airfield by an American court set up especially for the purpose. These are the key facts behind a sensational hijacking that hasn’t been fully explained almost thirty years after the event; facts that provide the starting point for Antje Rávic Strubel’s fourth novel. The young German writer’s latest book is a gripping story about the search for love and personal freedom in the Cold War era, a search ending in disappointment and disillusionment and the death of all utopias.