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The Wall Jumper (Phoenix Fiction) [Paperback]

Peter Schneider
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 12.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Nov 1998 Phoenix Fiction
"Schneider's characters, like Kundera's, are sentient and sophisticated figures at a time when the constraints of Communist rule persist but its energy has entirely vanished."--Richard Eder, "Los Angeles Times Book Review" When the Berlin Wall was still the most tangible representation of the Cold War, Peter Schneider made this political and ideological symbol into something personal, that could be perceived on a human level, from more than one side. In Schneider's Berlin, real people cross the Wall not to defect but to quarrel with their lovers, see Hollywood movies, and sometimes just because they can't help themselves--the Wall has divided their emotions as much as it has their country."An honest, rich book. . . . It is one those rare books that come back at odd moments to intrude on your comfortable conclusions and easy images."--Robert Houston, "Nation"

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Product details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; University of Chicago Press Ed edition (1 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780226739410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226739410
  • ASIN: 0226739414
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,436,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Marvelous . . . creates, in very few words, the unreal reality of Berlin."--Salman Rushdie "New York Times Book Review "

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In Berlin, the prevailing winds are from the west. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This completely frank, thought-provoking, and often wryly humorous account of life in Berlin before the fall of the Wall tugs at the heartstrings with its fascinating stories and tales from both sides of the Divided City. With poignancy and warmth, the author creates believable characters who adhere to their own truths, not necessarily the expectations of the reader. The personable, unnamed speaker in this first person narrative is a writer trying to create the story of a man "caught in a back-and-forth motion over the Wall, like a soccer goalie in an instant replay, always taking the same dive to miss the same ball." Virtually all the Berliners we meet here--from both East and West--are in the same situation as the unfortunate goalie, as they, too, go back and forth, repeatedly mistaking the moves of people from the other "side," misinterpreting signals, and often, in their ignorance, failing to "get it."
The author provides an amazingly complete, though somewhat sanitized, picture of the Wall-jumpers--not those poor souls who were brutally machine-gunned by Wall guards, but people like the speaker who come and go across the Wall with relative impunity because they do not call attention to themselves. And Schneider is quick to point out that most of the East Berliners are fairly satisfied with their lives, which are depicted with much warmth, as families and friends spend a great deal of time with each other, undistracted by the responsibilities of "freedom." The fascinating philosophical discussions and personal revelations that occur among friends from both sides may sweep away your preconceptions about life in Berlin before the fall of the Wall. Mary Whipple
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed 7 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
This book could have been more interesting if the writer took the time to write everything in order. We have flash backs and disjointed conversations. The author introduces people with no background or placement. The conversations are unrealistic and seem more like general rants. The stories of wall jumpers could have been more interesting if they were just left a stories of jumpers than weaved through the main story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging novel of Berlin before the fall of the Wall. 4 Sep 2000
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This completely frank, thought-provoking, and often wryly humorous account of life in Berlin before the fall of the Wall will go straight to your heart with its fascinating stories and tales from both sides of the Divided City. With poignancy and warmth, the author creates believable characters who adhere to their own truths, not necessarily the expectations of the reader.

The personable, unnamed speaker in this first person narrative is a writer trying to create the story of a man "caught in a back-and-forth motion over the Wall, like a soccer goalie in an instant replay, always taking the same dive to miss the same ball." Virtually all the Berliners we meet here--from both East and West--are in the same situation as the unfortunate goalie, as they, too, go back and forth, repeatedly mistaking the moves of people from the other "side," misinterpreting signals, and often, in their ignorance, failing to "get it."

The author provides an amazingly complete, though somewhat sanitized, picture of the Wall-jumpers--not those poor souls who were brutally machine-gunned by Wall guards, but people like the speaker who come and go across the Wall with relative impunity because they do not call attention to themselves. And Schneider is quick to point out that most of the East Berliners are fairly satisfied with their lives, which are depicted with much warmth, as families and friends spend a great deal of time with each other, undistracted by the responsibilities of "freedom."

The fascinating philosophical discussions and personal revelations that occur among friends from both sides may sweep away your preconceptions about life in Berlin, as they did mine, and you may find yourself reevaluating your thinking about society and politics in general, and about Germany, in particular. Mary Whipple
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Berlin Wall: West meets East 28 Dec 2010
By Kiwifunlad - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ian McEwan acknowledges in the introduction "at a glance The Wall Jumper appears to be reportage rather than fiction." Published in 1982, seven years befopre the wall came down, this novella has little plot and character interaction but it deftly highlights the obvious and also the subtle differences between West and East Berliners. The reportage of various famous wall jumper incidents over the years is blended in with the impact each German state's influence has on its citizens. The narrator is a West Berliner who regularly visits East Berlin and writes about the meetings he has with various citizens. The narrator's encounters with Robert a former East Berliner now living disenchantedly in West Berlin highlight their different 'eyes' and conclusions in which they perceive the same events. An interesting aside Schneider reminds us that the US had boycotted the Moscow Olympics because of Russia's occupation of Afghanistan. This book is not for those big on plot and characterisation but it is a very revealing account on the influence the state has over the individual and the way we perceive things.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read 15 July 2009
By laroja - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Great piece of fiction read almost like mini-biographies of diverse, often eccentric personalities- true to the hysteria with which German describes themselves and the state of two-countries divided by the wall prior to its fall in the early 90s. I found myself laughing out loud at the poignant observations, as well as prejudices coming from both sides- It is a book about people, about societies to which they are bound. It is about the human person always wanting to trespass, to go beyond, to peek into their own curiosity.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't actually finish 25 Aug 2013
By Cindy markowitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I will eventually, but doesn't really hold my attention. Wanted information on the berlin wall but not getting a good feel for it.
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