Sorry for the poor image size but I’m discovering that on more obscure titles finding a decent image is a bit difficult.
It seems that timing was perfect for during the month of November I have read three books that dealt with war (and book 944 also is about this subject) and so far I have enjoyed all of them.
In scope Monika Maron’s Pavel’s Letters is very similar to Dubravka Ugresic’s ‘The Museum of Unconditional Surrender’ that is, an autobiographical tale about someone trying to piece her past by using photographs and letters as evidence. However whereas Ugresic had been able to reconstruct her history well, Maron had more problems as her mother forgot a lot of the important details and her grandfather erased most of his history and left behind a series of letters and a handful of pictures.
The setting for Pavel’s Letters is during wartime Berlin. Maron is writing her novel as the wall is falling down so it is just that she documents the two major events of the Germany’s troubled history. As she finally puts together her past Maron finds out that it is one of suffering and deception, albeit with tender moments.
Pavel’s Letters is a brutally honest book. I deals with its subjects bluntly and there is no time wasted in describing events and yet in doesn’t become self-indulgent or some kind of moan fest, which the novel could have easily turned into. It’s focal point is memory and how one can erase or alter it in order to give a more optimistic view of life. Although clearly this is not the case and the author’s family did undergo a lot of suffering.
I am loving the fact that the last three books have all touched upon the same theme and have been able to give us a unique vision of the events leading to the war be it World War II or the Bosnian one. There will always be some sort of imprint caused, that can affect an outlook of life and the these novels are helping become more aware of these happenings