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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.

©2022 Brigitte Reimann (P)2022 Penguin Audio


  • Atmopsheric... complex, prickly, funny... Reimann's novel has the tense mood of a play - a family drama by Henrik Ibsen or Arthur Miller - with plenty of fiery dialogue between the characters about politics, industry and art... [Reimann] is a flash of colour in a grey landscape
    Johanna Thomas-Corr, The Sunday Times

About the author

Brigitte Reimann

Brigitte Reimann (1933-1973) was among East Germany's most significant writers. Like her heroines, she was spirited and outspoken, addressing issues and sensibilities otherwise repressed in the GDR. She believed passion­ately in socialism, yet never joined the party; stayed with her second husband, yet pursued a series of affairs. Her stated aim was to live 'thirty wild years instead of seventy well-behaved ones'. In 1960, her brother left for the West and she began writing Siblings. She died from cancer at the age of thirty-nine, a celebrated writer and cult figure.
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