FREYA ON THE WALL by T. Degens

FREYA ON THE WALL

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From Degens (On the Third Ward, 1990), an intricate, cerebral picture of life in East Germany just before the Berlin Wall's destruction, as seen through the eyes of a teenager with family on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Inspired by her grandmother Dulla's folkloric tale of how she and her sisters fled the advancing Soviet army in 1945 and were separated, Freya reenacts the flight, with numerous imaginative variations. At the same time, fascinated by chaos theory, she tests the idea that small local events can have large consequences. Events and revelations put Freya on an emotional rollercoaster: She learns that Dulla hasn't told her the whole story; a romance with a neighbor is nipped off when his family joins the rising tide of defectors. Degens develops this family saga slowly, framing it as a story that Freya later tells to her American cousin; thoughtful readers who keep track of the shifting eras and narrators will be rewarded with a steady look at attitudes and living conditions during East Germany's last days, a large but well-differentiated cast led by a sensitive protagonist, plus insight into how Nazi atrocities still haunt the psyches of many Germans. While it is not a page-turner, this novel is studded with subtle connections and concepts. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-15-200210-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1997




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