Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the DDR With Love, 6 July 2006
This review is from: Seven Lies (Hardcover)
I can't believe I am the first reader to review Seven Lies. I began reading the novel out of curiosity: I have been to Berlin several times and I have read many studies of the DDR (The East German Republic). Lasdun's East Germany is absolutely convincing: he seems to know its society as well as he knows New York, where he has lived for several years. Seven Lies is more than a story about East Germany seen from America after the fall of the Wall. The novel isn't just a portrait of a citizen corrupted by the duplicitous country in which he lives, or a man disappointed that his new nation can not save him from his own distortions and the deceptions to himself and those who he loves. The narration takes audacious leaps which draw in the reader: after I read the ending I turned back to earlier chapters to discover further Stefan's lies and his decline into treachery. Ultimately, the novel questions the existence of innocence itself. Readers who are interested in philosophy will find much to ponder here (the protagonist Stefan Vogel becomes a student of philosophy after failing his exams, and his department of Philosophy is, as he notes, the most smirched department in his University). Lasdun is an accomplished poet as well as a novelist: his prose shines with acute moments of description, such Stefan's parents huddled around their radio, listening to the serialization of a Russian novel, and his mother nodding, pretending to her family, and herself, that she recognizes allusions to fiction she supposedly has read in her youth. Seven Lies is a memorable novel, as rich and compelling as the poetry Stefan cribs and passes off as his own, yet original and highly innovative. I can't praise it enough.
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4.3 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews)
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