Review: Anna Funder’s “Stasiland”

by writereaderly

This is one of those books that’s been lurking large on my Get Around To List… and I’m so glad I finally did the getting. Funder was living in (old) East Berlin in the early 1990s. Upon meeting some victims of the GDR’s Stasi (secret police), she decided to investigate the organisation, its employees, and its reach in daily East German life. Casually but insightfully written, undergirded by thorough research, and delightfully not about the author at all (although she was present in her own story), this is an excellent piece of investigative journalism made human by its sensitive prose-portraits. Superb. A fabulous reminder of how much I enjoy dry Australian journalism, rather than its always slightly twee US cousin. I’m so glad Funder’s new novel is also on the Bedside Shelf, coming up sometime soon…

Where it came from: MM’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading: As many reads as I could squeeze in in lieu of assignments
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of: Eric Ketalaar’s 2006 essay, “Access: The Democratic Imperative” – an excellent piece that has been one of the few moments of inspiration in my uni course (sigh)
Who I’d recommend it to:
Hard to pin down… but it would have to be those interested in contemporary politics and the humans it makes us
Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch; Selected Essays by George Orwell