The Wall Jumper Paperback
Part of the Penguin Modern Classics series
Berlin before the fall of the Wall is a city divided, yet its ordinary residents find ways to live and survive on both sides.
There is Robert, teller of barroom anecdotes over beer and vodka, adjusting to a new life in the west; Pommerer, trying to outwit the system in the east; the unnamed narrator, who 'escapes' back-and-forth to collect stories; his beguiling, exiled lover Lena; the three boys who defect to watch Hollywood films; and the man who leaps across the Wall again and again - simply because he cannot help himself.
All are, in their different ways, wall jumpers, trying to lose themselves but still trapped wherever they go.
Ultimately, the walls inside their heads prove to be more powerful than any man-made barrier ...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 160 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 03/11/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780141187983
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Review by roblong
A precious insight into a world being quickly forgotten, Schneider’s novel elucidates the banal insanity of the Berlin Wall, and the complexity of the human responses to it. The wall jumper, who constantly leaps across the border from West to East (to the confusion of all) “because it’s there”, is one extroverted symptom of a wider, creeping malady. The inhabitants of each society voice their views about the world in the terminology of their home republic, and become by that means mouthpieces for their respective governments. This contrast between states that share a language and a history is exhibited endlessly, from conversations in bars to news coverage of terrorists/freedom fighters in Mozambique (according to taste). The Wall Jumper is a startling book that has an enormous amount to contribute to our understanding of our selves, as well as an invaluable history lesson for students of German politics who want to understand why, in many ways, the Wall still stands.