Winner, BBC 4 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, United Kingdom
Truth can be stranger—and more fascinating—than fiction. Anna Funder tells extraordinary stories from the underbelly of the most perfected surveillance state of all time, the former East Germany.
Funder meets Miriam, the sixteen-year-old who might have started World War III. She visits the regime's cartographer, obsessed to this day with the Berlin Wall, then gets drunk with the legendary 'Mik Jegger' of the east, once declared by the authorities 'no longer to exist'. And she finds spies and Stasi men, still loyal to the Firm as they wait for the next revolution.
Stasiland is a lyrical, at times funny account of the courage some people found to withstand the dictatorship, and the consequences for those who collaborated. Funder explores the daily chaos and harsh beauty of Berlin, a place where some people are trying to remember, and others just as hard to forget.
Stasiland is a brilliant debut by a prodigiously gifted writer.
‘Moving and exhilarating, Stasiland is the kind of book that makes us love non-fiction. With her tenacious curiosity and energetic intelligence, Anna Funder is a natural: she has amazing nerve, a fresh prose style and a novelist’s warm response to character and human drama.’Helen Garner
‘Informed judgements and historical background are communicated with deceptive ease. Targeted at a broad audience, Stasiland is compelling reading.’Sydney Morning Herald
‘Stasiland … is a masterpiece of investigative analysis, written almost like a novel, with a perfect mix of compassion and distance.’Sunday Times
‘Colorful, intensely observed, well executed, with lots of black humour and disturbing undertones.’Kirkus Review
‘Anna Funder brilliantly captures the tragedy of two separate Germanies and its long lasting effects. She skillfully puts a human face not only to the everyday citizens of East Germany but also those who were the instruments of the East German regime. It is a fascinating and brilliantly personal look at a country and a people trying to deal with a terrible and tumultuous recent history and the scars that continue to be bared and inflicted.’Jon Page, Pages&Pages Bookshop