“Last Sunday I bought an old, flea market suitcase so that I could put in it disheveled piles of books conspiring to build up yet another wall next to my bed. (…)Now, a week later, I am quite certain that these books just had to be locked up! (…)safely locked up, they cannot haunt me as when they were at large. The idea is: I will set them briefly free for review purposes and then lock them up again. (…)Let me start with the book that broke my heart.”
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Today, Diana wraps up her series by narrating what it has been like for her to finally meet and enter the “real life” of her penpal Genia, and also to see Russia for herself.
Saturday in the park….definatley NOT the 4th of July…but it’s just as exciting.
“My sudden love affair with Aitmatov nearly made me flunk my German exam in tenth grade. ‘Heroes of Our Everyday Socialist Life’ was to be the topic of our written compositions. I wrote an essay about Aitmatov’s novel The Place of the Skull. [My German teacher] managed to save me from flunking. But Aitmatov saved me even more. I never again thought in clichés about Russians and the many other peoples in the gigantic empire that was soon to crumble.”
“In history class, I single-handedly denigrated the Soviet Union. We were sitting with our textbooks open. I felt bored. There was a photo of Lenin on the page. With my ballpoint pen, I drew Lenin an earring and a Mohican haircut… Forty years earlier in Thuringia, a schoolgirl had adorned a portrait of Stalin with her lipstick. Erika Riemann spent the rest of her youth in Soviet prison camps.”