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Booker International Longlist 2023 – While We Were Dreaming

While We Were Dreaming

Book 12While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer Translated by Katy Derbyshire

Reviewed by BookWorm

Synopsis from Booker Prize website: Startlingly raw and deeply moving, this extraordinary debut novel from one of Germany’s most ambitious writers is full of passion, hope and despair.

Rico, Mark, Paul and Daniel were 13 when the Berlin Wall fell in autumn 1989. Growing up in Leipzig at the time of reunification, they dream of a better life somewhere beyond the brewery quarter. Every night they roam the streets, partying, rioting, running away from their fears, their parents and the future, fighting to exist, killing time. They drink, steal cars, feel wrecked, play it cool, longing for real love and true freedom.

BookWorms’s Thoughts:  This was a violent and very male centric view into life in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The young men we follow are growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, their daily life involves brutal fighting, shoplifting, drug taking and as a counterpoint indoctrination as members of the Pioneers.

The story is non-linear and the time line jumps around we know about certain events before they are covered in the narrative. As the story is semi-autobiographical I feel bad saying that great chunks of it bored me and I feel the book could have been a lot shorter if we hadn’t had to cover every single punch thrown in every single fight and then to rehash it from a slightly altered viewpoint.

As an insight into life for young men in East Germany at a turbulent time in history this was interesting however it is not a work of fiction I would say I enjoyed.

Writing quality: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Character development: 3/4
Plot development: 2/4
Overall enjoyment: 1/2
Total: 13/20

Have you read this one? Let us know what you thought.

Is Mother Dead 19
Standing Heavy 18
Pyre 17.5
Time Shelter 17.5
Still Born 17.25
Ninth Building 16
Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv 16
Whale 15.5
Boulder 13.5
While We Were Dreaming 13
The Birthday Party 12.75
The Gospel According to the New World 11.5
A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding 9

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Sue #

    Thank you for providing such great information on each book. It’s greatly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 13, 2023

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