Red Love: The Story of an East German Family
By Maxim Leo
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The gripping story, lovingly told, of what held East Germany together- and what, in the end, destroyed it
The East isn't far away at all. It clings to me, it goes with me everywhere. It's like a big family that you can't shake off ...' Growing up in East Berlin, Maxim Leo knew not to ask questions. All he knew was that his rebellious parents, Wolf and Anne, with their dyed hair, leather jackets and insistence he call them by their first names, were a bit embarrassing. That there were some places you couldn't play; certain things you didn't say. Now, married with two children and the Wall a distant memory, Maxim decides to find the answers to the questions he couldn't ask. Why did his parents, once passionately in love, grow apart? Why did his father become so angry, and his mother end her career in journalism? And why did his grandfather Gerhard, the Socialist war hero, turn into a stranger? The story he unearths is, like his country's past, one of hopes, lies, cruelties, betrayals but also love. In Red Love he captures, with warmth and unflinching honesty, why so many dreamed the GDR would be a new world and why, in the end, it fell apart.
Translated by Shaun Whiteside
Cover illustration by Clare Skeats
Published 12 September 2013