No Man’s Land by Michael Califra
|Title: No Man’s Land
Author: Michael Califra
Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars(1)
It was a beautiful dream, as compelling and just as any in history – yet unattainable. Realizing it meant overcoming entrenched ideological and political divisions that had split a city and the world for half a century. Then it happened; overnight and without warning. And nothing would ever be as it was before.
Set in Berlin during the period just before the revolutions of 1989, continuing through the unexpected fall of the Wall, German reunification and its immediate aftermath, No Man’s Land chronicles events as experienced by Richard, an expatriate American working a job marketing software for a small US firm. His companions in West Berlin include Katerina Weber, the only child of a funeral director who is hell-bent of living every moment to the fullest; Knut Heino, a theology student working toward priesthood in an effort to avoid a real job. (According to Knut, work is the consequence of original sin; therefore he wanted nothing to do with it.) Then there is Klaus, an East German boarder guard who went over the Wall and could never adjust to life in the West. Stuck in West Berlin without the means to leave, Klaus asks Richard for a favor that requires an excursion to the eastern city. There he meets Traudi Franzke, an idealistic young nurse. The relationship that ensues in East Berlin, separated from reality by the notorious concrete border, exposes hopes long since betrayed but clung to nevertheless. It is a relationship that outlasts the Wall, political tumult and German reunification until Traudi’s life is destroyed by a secret past, completing a journey from an age of idealism to The End of History.
The author lived and worked in Germany from 1986 to 1998.