Rücken an Rücken
East Berlin in the late 1950s. Brother and sister Thomas and Ella grow up lost in the house of the sculptress Käthe. A Jewish communist, this passionate but gruff woman only survived the Nazis through fortuitous circumstances. After the war she placed all her hopes in socialist Germany. But her ardent commitment to society takes its toll: estrangement from the individual, coldness towards her nearest and dearest. She has as little acknowledgement for Ella’s vulnerable loneliness as for Thomas' melancholy longing. When the Berlin Wall is built in 1961 and Thomas escapes into an unhappy love for Marie, nobody can stave off a tragedy.
Julia Franck writes about a great love without reservations and a utopia with a tragic ending, a story that grows into a social novel.