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  • Published: 7 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241555842
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $22.99

Siblings




A stirring novel of idealist loyalty and sibling love, by one of East Germany's most important writers

1960. The border between East and West Germany has closed.

For Elisabeth - a young painter - the GDR is her generation's chance to build an egalitarian socialist future. For her brother Uli, it is a place of stricture and oppression. Separating them is the ever-wider chasm of the party line; over them loom the twin spectres of opportunity and fear, and the shadow of their defector brother Konrad. In prose as bold as a scarlet paint stroke, Brigitte Reimann battles with the clash of idealism and suppression, familial loyalty and desire. This fervid, ground-breaking novel, written when Reimann was only twenty-seven, remains one of the cult classics of East German literature.

  • Published: 7 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241555842
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $22.99

Praise for Siblings

It is hard to believe that this brilliant novel has taken so many years to find its way into English translation. Spare, chilling, with wild flashes of vivid colour and the tempo of a thriller, Siblings jolts us into the beating heart of a family and post-war East Germany, conjuring the political dreams and divisions that make and ultimately break both

Lisa Appignanesi

A groundbreaking classic of GDR literature... a phenomenon

Kate Connolly, Guardian

Reimann's depiction of the complexities of nationhood are remarkably modern, and her portrayal of the sibling bond unnerving and tender... A striking portrait of what it feels like to be young, idealistic and crushed by the systems around you

New Statesman

Atmopsheric... complex, prickly, funny... Reimann's novel has the tense mood of a play - a family drama by Henrik Ibsen or Arthur Miller - with plenty of fiery dialogue between the characters about politics, industry and art... [Reimann] is a flash of colour in a grey landscape

Johanna Thomas-Corr, The Sunday Times

Intoxicating... dense, jagged... Lucy Jones's translation excellently captures the dry wit, expressionistic boldness and seductively odd rhythms that make the original German so charismatic

Alexander Wells, Guardian

Short, artful... Although Siblings is decidedly a realist novel, some moments feel more modernist [...] Indeed, one of the most intriguing subplots concerns her engagement with what it means to make realist art - a mission complicated by sexism in the party's ranks... Vivid

Franklin Nelson, Financial Times

[Lucy] Jones's translation ably captures the frankness of Elisabeth's voice: the fast transitions, sensual visual imagery and careful ironic distance. At its best the prose evokes a kind of flickering street photography... Siblings is too good a novel to be read merely for the way in which it reflects on the limited political horizons of our era; but if you are looking to imagine your way beyond them, it gestures to a picture of a future that never was

Kevin Brazil, TLS

This vivid and intriguing novel, published in 1963, is a largely autobiographical story by an author who had a short, eventful life, marrying four times and declaring her intent to live "30 wild years instead of 70 well-behaved ones"... Siblings is given new life in this translation by Lucy Jones

John Self, Observer

Like a book from a lost civilisation... Siblings is a generational book. Like Gen X-ers or Gen Z-ers, Reimann looked about her to see that the markers of life and society had been put in place by people alien to her... An almost cool, static, geometrical spider's web of a book

Michael Hofmann, LRB

Siblings is sexy, rigorous and worrying - I absolutely loved this book

Julia Armfield, author, Our Wives Under the Sea