Tuesday, October 14, 2014

RABET or How to win a Revolution without bloodshed (novel)

Thist novel about the peaceful revolution of soviet-occupied East-Germany in 1989 was originally published in 1999 in German language with the title: "Rabet oder das Verschwinden einer Himmelsrichtung - Rabet or The Disappearance of a Cardinal Point" (via verbis publishing, Munich). It was translated into Italian and Indonesian languages and partly also into Czech and English.

About the Novel: A German journalist narrates the events in Leipzig from 1987-1990 to his unknown daughter in New York.  Events which he has not talked about in years, absurd stories and the feeling of an era he thought long gone, begin to manifest themselves.  For the first time in German literature the story of the peaceful revolution is told from the perspective of a revolutionary.  The fictional characters exist in an authentic, historic background.  This novel hauntingly describes the interior dynamics of the events which began the German revolution, and the dreams, disenchantment and moments of joy lived by real-life protagonists.  Through this book, it becomes clear how truly these dynamics are still at work today.

Content: Benjamin Grasmann, an aspiring musician from the provinces, breaks out to the East German city of Leipzig.  While there, he falls in love and meets deeply inspirational artists of the Opposition.  He soon finds himself caught up in the opposition's conflicts with the socialist regime.  As small upheavals and demonstrations become commonplace, more and more of his friends are arrested.  The news of his lover's pregnancy arrives at the peak of political conflict, the struggle for supremacy grows inevitable, and not just Leipzig, but the whole of the GDR hangs in the balance.  And Benjamin Grasmann finds himself right in the middle.

Voices about the book:
Martin Jankowski belongs to the most interesting voices of a new generation of East-German writers... (Caroline Wyatt, BBC)

We've had to wait ten years for this book! (Thomas Meyer, Leipziger Volkszeitung)

Rarely have the final scenes of East German history been described in such a realistic and at the same time hilarious manner.” (Wolfgang Engler, Sociologist, director of the Ernst Busch Actors School Berlin) 

"Very authentic ... describes how young people in particular in Leipzig fought against the system froze - and it finally brought to falter." (STERN Extra 4/2009, "Against the wall in the head")

...one of the few novels in which the European dimension of the revolution is expressed... the representation of the split between those protesters willing to leave and those who wanted to stay is unique...it seems to be a legend of change contrary to events. Jankowski is one of the few authors who makes not only critical, but ironic commentary." (Frank Thomas Grub, Wende und Einheit im Spiegel der deutschsprachigen Literatur 2003, de Gruyter Berlin New York)

Jankowski is making his way into German literature... (Sabine Neubert, ND-Kultur)

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