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208 Pages, Leinen
Who decides whether we prefer to remember the happy moments of our lives or the unhappy ones? Why she had completely forgotten about the box full of letters and photographs, souveniers from the most horrible months in her family`s history and at the same time the darkest ones of German history in our century, Hella does not know. Hella is Monika Maron`s mother, and she rather remembers happiness, even though all her stories seem to take place in the kitchenThe letters in the box are from Pawel Iglarz, Hella`s father and Monika`s grandfather, who, being a convert Jew, had moved with his wife Josefa from the area around Lodz to Neukölln, to find work as a tailor tin the city of Berlin. In 1939 they were expelled and had to return to Poland. A few years later the couple was separated: In 1942 Pawel was taken to the ghetto of Belchatow or killed in the concentration camp of Kulmhof. Pawel`s letters from the ghetto and those of his children to him are a poignant heritage, urging his granddaughter to walk the road of memories. The feeling of owing her grandfather something, who in return owed something to life because he was hindered to live his to its end has inspired Monika Maron to reconstruct her grandfather`s life. Language and images meet in her literature, linking Pawel`s to her mother`s and her own life. At the same time Maron`s family portrait gives an insight into twenthieth century German history. Through her associative narrative technique Monika Maron manages to generate and intertwine several fundametally different, even contrary existences from instant images and photo clips: the Polish-Jewish reality of Pawel and Josefa; Hella`s view which has been influenced by the idea of class conflict (she defends socialism if not the entire one); and finally writer Monika Maron`s own reality, epitomised in the sentence I am a war child.Pawel`s Letters is a unique family biography, that despite the very horrors it has to tell, pleads for stoicism and irony as principles of survival.
About Monika Maron
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