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Fast-moving thriller in contemporary Central Europe, where the past never really is completely in the past, and the future far from certain.

   Having been several times in the former GDR and in the reunited Germany, and in contact with people there, I am drawn toward books like covering the Cold War and divided Germany.. Many of them are predictable, but not this one. Stasiland offers a different take on life in places that were once behind the Iron Curtain. It offers a realistic portrayal of life in modern Germany and Central Europe.

    The narrator is a well-heeled Englishman who is emotionally adrift. He is often bemused by what he observes; an exception being early in the story where he has an encounter with the German police. Through unforeseen events he becomes enmeshed in the resurgence of the Far Right in Germany, a movement that creates enormous difficulties in the recently-united nation.

    Some of the action takes place in Hungary, which serves a dual purpose: casting light on a place not well-known to many and giving a glimpse of contemporary politics there.

The book is divided into a series of short chapters. Often this makes for a choppy, not-so-well developed narrative. Fortunately, this is not the case in Stasiland. The author packs a lot of detail in the short chapters. One can easily visualize the places, people, and surroundings. As a result there is an authenticity created that draws the reader into the story.

  The author chooses not to name the town where the story begins and ends. He has chosen to refer to it as die Stadt, (the city/town). Clearly it is in Saxony, near Dresden, and on the Elbe River. Making up a name would have been simple enough to do,. However, that is the author’s prerogative.

    On a lesser note, the German word for silent is stumm, not schtum. The latter is Yiddish, and has made its way into British slang. This minor error does not detract at all from a good book, but I feel compelled to point it out. I am bilingual, and have spent a lot of time in Germany and with its culture.

I would recommend this book to people who anyone interested in German history, contemporary German life, and the resurgence of the Far Right. It is a good read and well-written.

Reviewed by

I am a published poet with four books out there of my own, and two in collaboration with artist Carol Worthington-Levy. Additionally I have drafts of a novel and one short story in the process of being sent out.


About the author

Rolf Richardson spent 25 years as an airline pilot before turning to photography and cruise lecturing, a lifetime of travel covering some 110 countries. He is now writing 'Easy Read' fiction, set in some of the places he has visited. Seven of his ebooks are available on Amazon view profile

Published on July 17, 2019

Published by Matador

60000 words

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Reviewed by