Siblings by Brigitte Reimann

Siblings by Brigitte Reimann

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1960. The border between East and West Germany has closed.

For Elisabeth - a young painter - the GDR is her generation's chance to build a glorious, egalitarian socialist future. For her brother Uli, it is a place of stricture and oppression. Separating them is the ever-wider chasm of the Party line; over them loom the twin spectres of opportunity and fear, and the shadow of their defector brother Konrad. In prose as bold as a scarlet paint stroke, Brigitte Reimann battles with the clash of idealism and suppression, familial loyalty, and desire. The result is this ground-breaking classic of post-war East German literature.

Translated by Lucy Jones


“There is something intoxicating about Reimann’s dense, jagged prose. It conveys hunger for a life that encompasses idealism with desire, the person with the cause, the self with the siblings, and the present with the past, all united by the force of personality.”―The Guardian

“The spirited English-language debut from Reimann (1933–1973) chronicles young love, idealism, and disillusionment in 1960s East Germany.”―Publishers Weekly

“In this 1963 novel by award-winning East German author Reimann, family love is tested by idealism and ideology in a divided Germany… Reimann’s work brings a historical moment convincingly to life.”―Kirkus Reviews

“Reimann was interested in the ‘I’ of the self at a time when the collective ‘we’ dominated―and the tension runs through Siblings...It makes her work feel modern, especially in an age of social media-fuelled self-revelation.”―The Sunday Times

Paperback with French flaps
Publisher: Penguin Classics
ISBN: 978-0241555835
Pages: 144