Saturday, 3 March 2012

I've just finished reading The Moment by Douglas Kennedy.  Such a brilliant novel, couldn't wait to read the end and now am in a state of mourning as I've finished it.  About an American Writer who travels to Berlin in the 1980s before the Wall came down.  He falls in love with a woman from the Eastern block.  A tragic story of loss and love.
I remember Germany when it was divided into East and West.  I went to West Germany often to visit my Aunt and Uncle.  Once we travelled to Belson - took my then eight year old son for a day-trip.  One I'll never forget.
Another day we drove to the Iron Curtain and stood and looked across no man's land.  All along the footpath on this side of the high wire fence were crosses marking places where people had died trying to escape from the East.  As we stood watching, two East German guards were patrolling just on the other side of the fence.  They looked at us without smiling.  I felt so sad at the time.
When the wall came down not everyone rejoiced.  I remember seeing it on the news at my Father's house.  He shuddered and said that it was the worse thing that could happen.  I didn't understand at the time but Dad was Polish and I realised later that there were good reasons at the time to divide the country.  At least some people thought so, but having read Douglas Kennedy's novel I can see that there were some very evil people in power in the East.  If you go to Berlin now you'll find little trace of the Wall but it must have been overwhelmingly weird living there when it was still there.  I recommend this as a great read, thought provoking and very real.
Now I am reading Pamela by Samuel Richardson.  Written in England in 1740 - a complete contrast to the above.  I first discovered it when I was studying English Literature a few years ago.  At the time I had so much reading to do that there was not time to indulge myself - but I always promised myself I would read it one day.  So - now I am.  More about that later.

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