The Short End of the Sonnenallee

By Thomas Brussig, Introduction by Jonathan Franzen, Translated by Jonathan Franzen and Jenny Watson

‘A kind of miracle … Not only made me laugh (again and again) but brought tears to my eyes’ Jonathan Franzen

‘One of the most brilliant satirical novels about life in East Berlin’ New York Times

Thomas Brussig’s classic German satire, translated into English for the first time and introduced by Jonathan Franzen, is a comedic, moving account of life in East Berlin before the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Short End of the Sonnenallee, is a satire set, literally, on the Sonnenallee, the famed “boulevard of the sun” in East Berlin.

Within this boulevard lives Michael, an adolescent who faces daily ridicule whenever he steps out of his apartment building and comes into view of the observation platform on the West side. “Look, a real Zonie. Can we take your picture?” Hopelessly in love with the most beautiful girl on the street, Michael is batted away in favour of the Western boys who are free to cross the border. What chance does Michael have, and how much trouble will he get into by pursuing her?

Laugh-out-loud funny and unabashedly silly, Brussig’s novel follows the bizarre, grotesque quotidian details of life in the German Democratic Republic. As this new translation shows, the ideas at its heart – freedom, democracy and life’s fundamental hilarity – hold great relevance for today.

‘Gentle comedy … Funny, rueful’ Telegraph

Format: ebook
Release Date: 04 Apr 2023
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-855933-5
Thomas Brussig is the author of nine novels, including Wasserfarben and Helden wie wir. He also wrote the screenplays for two film adaptations of his novels Helden wie wir and Sonnenallee. Born in East Berlin, Brussig now divides his time between Berlin and Mecklenburg.Jonathan Franzen is the author of six novels, including The Corrections, Freedom, Purity, and Crossroads, and five works of nonfiction, most recently The Kraus Project and The End of the End of the Earth. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.Jenny Watson is an associate professor of German at Marquette University. Since receiving her PhD in German and Scandinavian literature, Watson has published many books and articles, including German Milwaukee, “Selma Lagerlöf: Surface and Depth,” and Scandinavia and Germany: Cross-Cultural Currents. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

”'One of the most brilliant satirical novels about life in East Berlin, in the shadow of the wall” - New York Times

”'Gentle comedy … The fullness of Eastern lives, and their human ordinariness - despite the emptiness and abnormality of the background against which they were lived - is the subject of Brussig’s funny, rueful book” - Telegraph

”'The slim episodic novel The Short End of the Sonnenallee, which was set around the mid-1980s among East Berlin adolescents and evokes their world of feelings and experiences right down to the unfussy syntax, is the purest, brightest, most tender poetry of resistance” - Die Zeit