A story about the GDR and those who survived (or not). Anna Funder is a journalist in East Germany (after the wall came down) and seeks out stories about the old regime, and of course, those persecuted by the Stasi, the feared Secret Service of East Germany. We learn about Miriam, who attempted the cross the wall and ended up in prison, or the dreadful story of the woman who's child had to go to a hospital in West Berlin for treatment, and she remained in East Berlin - they tried to flee via a tunnel but were set up. There are many stories like this in the book, it is well written and I found her descriptions of people and situations absolutely lifelike (I could see the people she descriped). she often gives us her personal opinion For me, the translations of many 'inside' GDR words into English are helpful.
For someone who has been brought up in the GDR - well, I appreciate that this is what most people want to know about (and I don't deny those dreadful things did happen). But, especially in the English speaking world, those are the ONLY stories about the GDR, which leaves the impression that absoulutely everyone suffered dreadfully all the time. Well, most people can't believe it here, but I had a very nice childhood, and I didn't know anyone who had anything to do with Stasi. Of course, lots of the heavy stuff only started to emerge for me after the wall came down. , neither me, my parents, family, friends etc were ever interviewed/intorregated etc -But I knew, if I were an open rebel against the government or attempting stuff which was illegal for us (e.g. trying to cross the border) - I would have suffered the consequences. OK, of my soapbox for the day.