Helga M. Novak
The Frost Saints / Bird Without Wings
2 volumes, 616pp
As no other work does this autobiography tell about childhood and adolescence in a Germany during fascism and in the early years of the German Democratic Republic:
DIE EISHEILIGEN begins in the Summer of 1939, two months before the beginning of World War II. First school years spent in a suburb East of Berlin, with fascism a natural part of daily life, escaping from the air-raids into the country and then in January 1945 fleeing back into Berlin from the approaching Read Army, a Winter spent hungry in the Soviet occupied zone, foundation of the German Democratic Republic.
VOGEL FEDERLOS follows with the years at school, years in which the shaping of political ideas is influenced solely by the utopia of a socialist life in a new, totally different Germany.
Powerful, fierceful, expressive - this autobiography truly is a book of history and forms the basis to get to know and understand Germany's past and present.
»These two books are exceptional in many respects. While the author's childhood memories in DIE EISHEILIGEN are deeply affecting in their account of a child's immediate experience, VOGEL FEDERLOS is impressive in its scope, ranging from the intimate to international politics. Extremely concise dialogue, passages of lyrical tenderness, brilliant collages from newspapers and ceremonial speeches, accounts of political events (the Korean War, reunification, the Berlin revolt), poems, portraits, letters, Marxist doctrine and its reflection - the contrasts are sharp, almost painful.«
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
»A unique voice within comtemporary literature.«