Sukuromaani DDR st , sosialistisesta utopiasta ja nelj n polven riemastuttavista persoonistaWilhelminvuotisp iville kokoontuu puoluetovereiden lis ksi Charlotte vaimon sukua eli p iv nsankarin mielest ep luotettavia kiipij it Runsaasta vierasm r st huolimatta kaikki eiv t ole kuitenkaan paikalla onhan vuosi Charlotten pojanpoika Alexander matkustaaluvun alussa Meksikoon isovanhempiensa jalanj ljille Mutta menneisyyden ja l heisten ihmisten ajatusten mm rt minen on vaikeaa Mit tapahtui Wernerille Vorkutassa, ket Charlotte kaipaa merten takaa ja mill mielell Irina iti t ytt jouluista luostarihanheaan Ent tarvitsemmeko historian suuria sankareita vai vain yhden rakkaan, joka j vierellemme muiden menty Puoli vuosisataa l vist v , palkittu ja ylistetty romaani antaa it saksalaisen suvun j senille hurmaavat net Ei ole yll tys, miten eri tavoin koemme saman hetken tai miten kurjasti vanhemmat ja lapset ymm rt v t toisiaan mutta yll tys on se, kuinka satunnaisia muistiinpanoja meist j ja kuinka toiset meist vahtivat vesipannujen vihellyst toisten saadessa is nmaallisia ansiomerkkej


10 thoughts on “Vähenevän valon aikaan

  1. ·Karen· ·Karen· says:

    This is my top ten 2013 Apart from proving that even simple arithmetic is beyond me, it also reveals a certain pattern in my reading pleasure Of the fourteen and no, I m not quite as numerically challenged as all that,


  2. Thomas Hübner Thomas Hübner says:

    In Times of Fading Light is the debut novel of Eugen Ruge b 1954 in Sosva Ural It is loosely based on the fate of Ruge s own family and tells the story of the four generations of the Umnitzer family The book was very favorably reviewed after publication it was awarded the Deutscher Buchpreis German Book Award in 2011, and soldthan half a million copies on the German language market In the reviews it has been sometimes compared to the Buddenbroo In Times of Fading Light is the debut novel of Eugen Ruge b 1954 in Sosva Ural It is loosely based on the fate of Ruge s own family and tells the story of the four generations of the Umnitzer family The book was very favorably reviewed after publication it was awarded the Deutscher Buchpreis German Book Award in 2011, and soldthan half a million copies on the German language market In the reviews it has been sometimes compared to the Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann Foreign rights have been sold to 28 countries so far The book has, as I understand it, two central themes the slow disintegration of the Umnitzer family, whose story is told in the book, and the change of attitude by the four generations of the family toward the big experiment of communism, as applied in the GDR Wilhelm Powileit, the family patriarch whose 90th birthday celebration in October 1989 is one of the central events in the book, was a communist from early age on A metal worker, party member from the time of the foundation of the KPD Communist Party of Germany in 1919, later involved in fighting the Kapp putsch, and during the first years of the Nazi era busy with illegal work for the party that included smuggling of people and propaganda material, but also the liquidation of traitors , felt always to be a man with a purpose and without doubt The hardships of exile in Mexico, later a short stay in Russia and return in 1952 to East Germany even strengthened his belief in the Stalinist ideas As a so called Westemigrant he was viewed with suspicion by the people in charge in the Party in the GDR, and therefore he was not able to rise to a higher rank in the party hierarchy But he develops a kind of grass root activism that earns him year after a year a new medal of honor and a visit of the party secretary with rather boring speeches It suits the party to showcase a man like Wilhelm Powileit, with such an exemplary resume, even when some of the events mentioned in it are somehow blurred, and it is fairly obvious that the official CV isa legend than the truth But the most important is anyway always missing in official resumes a truth that Wilhelm discovers surprisingly once his memory becomes very weak as a result of beginning dementia or is it the medication that his wife is supervising.Contrary to Wilhelm, his wife Charlotte divorced Umnitzer, hence the different family name of the following generations made quite a career after returning to the GDR, in the newly founded Academy Her marriage of convenience was based mainly on the shared belief in the communist ideal, and their long life together was always submerged to the fight for an allegedly brighter future for the working class But for Charlotte, who had a very unhappy and abusive childhood and difficult first marriage with two children, the communist ideology was also a kind of escape, an idea that filled in a void in her life, something to stick to with all her might, because it provided the stability that was lacking in her life While the oldest generation seems to have no doubt about their political convictions and beliefs, the same cannot be said for Kurt Umnitzer, Charlotte s son and Wilhelm s step son Kurt is an academic, one of the leading historians of the country, and a very productive one While he is convinced that the ideals of socialism are worth fighting for, and also that the experiment of its practical implementation is a historical major achievement, he is not blind for certain unpleasant truths As an adolescent, he and his brother Werner were growing up in the Soviet Union to be trained as a part of the future post WWII elite in Communist Germany Wolfgang Leonhard or Markus Wolf come to mind , but a letter in which they voiced doubt regarding the wisdom of the Molotov Ribbentrop pact changed their lives dramatically as a consequence of the discovery of the content of this letter, they were exiled to different camps in Siberia Werner didn t survive this punishment in Vorkuta, but Kurt who was exiled to another place did, later to return with his Russian wife Irina and their son Alexander to the GDR Irina s mother Nadjeshda later joins, but she never feels at home in Germany and dreams to go home to her village in the Ural.Alexander, Kurt s and Irina s son, is in some way the central figure of the novel This is obvious from the fact that the book starts and ends with a chapter following his fate The book s first chapter describes how Alexander, just diagnosed with an obviously incurable form of cancer, takes care of his father who suffers from an advanced form of dementia In an attempt to re connect with the story of his family and in making sense of his life, he travels to Mexico, a place he knows from many conversations at home But it s not the real thing, a touristic experience with a bit of nostalgia Alexander, who left the GDR shortly before its complete collapse, thinks about his failed career in West Germany, his inability to feel at home anywhere, his failed relationships with the women in his life, his complete failure as a father The socialist ideal was never something that appealed to him, but he wasn t able to find something else to occupy this empty spot in his life.For Markus, the youngest Umnitzer, and representative of the fourth generation, the political ideas of his grandparents and great grandparents are already history only It s something about which you read in the history book but with which you have no connection, despite the fact that once great grandfather Wilhelm visited the school to tell the students about his early years in the KPD and his acquaintance with Karl Liebknecht, the party founder There are other interesting elements in the book particularly the role of the women in the family as opposed to the men They are not just some kind of sidekick , but occupy a prominent role in the novel, and have to struggle with their own tragedies Also the structure of the novel is very interesting and elaborated while several chapters, including the first and the last take place in 2001, the one central event in the book is Wilhelm s 90th birthday, a day in which almost the whole family comes together and in which the open and hidden conflicts are revealed no less than six chapters focus on this single day in between them there are several flashbacks starting from 1952, the year of return of Wilhelm and Charlotte and also returns to the present time 2001 additionally, there are various flashbacks that recount certain events in the past, so that the novel covers over all a period from 1919 to 2001 This structure is rather elaborate and may sound confusing, but I had no problem to follow it one of the advantages of this structure as compared to a linear and chronological account was for me that it was clear from the beginning that Alexander is the main hero of the book although as a reader you can make also a different choice.There are a number of comical situations, and also humour in the book The language is unpretentious and doesn t try to impress you Maybe that was one of the reasons why this was such a successful book it is easy to read No long and winding Thomas Mann sentences, no polished prose as in Uwe Tellkamp s The Tower, the novel with which Ruge s book has sometimes been compared The title of the book is a reference to the potato harvest in the village in the Ural in early fall in which Kurt lived, but it is also a metaphor for the fading light that the communist ideal shines on the Umnitzer family and that gets weaker with every generation.Overall this is a well crafted novel I really enjoyed I read it in German therefore I cannot say anything regarding the quality of the translation


  3. Friederike Knabe Friederike Knabe says:

    Eugen Ruge s IN ZEITEN DES ABNEHMENDEN LICHTS created a bit of a literary sensation in Germany when this debut novel won the prominent German Book Prize 2010 as, what some German critics have called, the Great DDR Buddenbrooks novel , a multi generational family tale, set primarily in the former German Democratic Republic GDR Now translated into English as IN TIMES OF FADING LIGHT by the highly esteemed Anthea Bell, it will likely establish itself as an important fictional account of persona Eugen Ruge s IN ZEITEN DES ABNEHMENDEN LICHTS created a bit of a literary sensation in Germany when this debut novel won the prominent German Book Prize 2010 as, what some German critics have called, the Great DDR Buddenbrooks novel , a multi generational family tale, set primarily in the former German Democratic Republic GDR Now translated into English as IN TIMES OF FADING LIGHT by the highly esteemed Anthea Bell, it will likely establish itself as an important fictional account of personal and political realities in East Germany from roughly 1952 to 2001 Personalizing the experiences of primarily three generations of Germans, Ruge explores for the reader the changing and complicated interpersonal relationships that reflect back on the changing societal landscape from the early days of the newly formed GDR, passing through the dramatic events leading up to and following the fall of the Berlin Wall to the unified Germany In fact, Ruge is very public about the fact that he has fictionalized of his own family s story.In his novel Ruge demonstrates his own original language style and an unusual rhythm in which the chapters are organized The events are told episodically and placed deliberately into the selected non contiguous time frames, moving backward and forward in the time continuum While this may be somewhat frustrating to the reader given the many gaps in the story and character development, the year 2001 provides an overall framework thus closing the circle time wise One recurring precise date, October 1, 1989, is given special importance, both in terms of a central family event and developments in the GDR in general The date is roughly a month prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, by October, each dayandGermans are leaving the country via bordersporous than that between the two Germanys A topic for discussion and concern at their dinner table Within the family, each generation has had to define its relationship to the State, its politics, the West, and deal with whatever past they had already lived through The old patriarch, and committed communist, Wilhem, had returned with his wife Charlotte from exile in Mexico to the young GDR in the early 1950s Charlotte s sons had gone east during the war and Kurt returns with wife and child after years in exile in remotest Russia Their differing views and those of other members of the family, friends and colleagues are explored in varying ways throughout the different episodes For me, Kurt s mother in law, the resolute Nadeshda Iwanovna, is the most endearing individual among them all her sense of humor ispronounced than that of any other.The changing time frames and with them each episode concentrating on one or two members of the clan is initially somewhat confusing But a quick look at the table of content reveals the rather clever and useful order of the chapters Ruge is very careful not to overload the reader with political detail or societal intricacies staying closely within the family chronicle Readers interested in the broader picture are well advised to consult other resources Yet, while focusing on the individuals, the episodes are nonetheless written from the perspective of an outsider, an omniscient narrator This places the reader at a certain distance from the protagonists We don t see the world through their eyes we observe their actions and interactions and rarely get a glimpse into their mind Hiding a person s inner truths was of course a requirement during the days of the GDRFinally, I have admit that I am not in the best position to assess the impact of Ruge s novel and how a reader with none or little familiarity with the subject matter will relate to it While my own experiences, directly and indirectly, reflect in many ways the realities as Ruge describes them realistically, and I find the book well written, I would not want to compare it with Thomas Mann s BUDDENBROOKS or Gunter Grass s novel and relevant to the issues here, TOO FAR AFIELD


  4. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    When I saw that Fading Light was compared to Buddenbrooks, and that the author indicated that it was The Story of a Family as Buddenbrooks is prefaced I snatched it up Many reviewers here caution that the reader must know something about East Germany or socialism or the Fall of the Wall to enjoy this book I don t see that as the essential problem here I knew essentially nothing about 19th century Germany, Lubeck, Protestantism, etc, and yet I fully loved and grasped Buddenbrooks To me, t When I saw that Fading Light was compared to Buddenbrooks, and that the author indicated that it was The Story of a Family as Buddenbrooks is prefaced I snatched it up Many reviewers here caution that the reader must know something about East Germany or socialism or the Fall of the Wall to enjoy this book I don t see that as the essential problem here I knew essentially nothing about 19th century Germany, Lubeck, Protestantism, etc, and yet I fully loved and grasped Buddenbrooks To me, that is because Buddenbrooks is truly about a family and its relationships.Fading Light is in many ways the beginning of a fine novel, but it does not explore relationships It explores the effect of social change on individuals and families but I don t see relationships here Essentially, I see individuals and the same events portrayed from different individuals points of view I found it difficult to keep the characters in this novel straight, which is unusual for me, and I think that s because there is little attempt to differentiate motivations, character, past, and inner emotional life Why are Charlotte and Wilhelm in Mexico Why did Kurt and Werner go to the Soviet Union Why did Alexander emigrate to the West Jumping back and forth in time seemed a conceit to make up for the thinness of the characters stories I would have liked to have seenworking through of plot lines to understand why bringing flowers to Wilhelm and the vases were an inside joke, why his punchline of Bring these vegetables to the garbage dump was laughed at I wish I understood the history of this family, because it seems tragic, and very interesting But I came away with just tantalizing glimpses, not enough to be truly satisfying


  5. Kristine Kristine says:

    MAGNIFICENT On one level, this is just a lot of unhappy people living in physically and or psychologically dreary circumstances, ordinarily a book I wouldn t want to keep going with On another, this is a fascinating kaleidoscope where some of the same places Berlin, Moscow, Mexico City shift in and out of decades 1952, 1989, 2001 More centrally, the same set of people shift in and out of foreground background Kurt is the son who seems too dutiful to Mutti if you re his wife, too subjec MAGNIFICENT On one level, this is just a lot of unhappy people living in physically and or psychologically dreary circumstances, ordinarily a book I wouldn t want to keep going with On another, this is a fascinating kaleidoscope where some of the same places Berlin, Moscow, Mexico City shift in and out of decades 1952, 1989, 2001 More centrally, the same set of people shift in and out of foreground background Kurt is the son who seems too dutiful to Mutti if you re his wife, too subjected to his wife if you re his mother, and is just a huge pain in the ass if you re his son still in charge of taking care of him I love the complicated nostalgia yes, there are places and people you have sentimental memories of, and the sentiment can be very powerful, AND you may know on some level that the reality of those times wasn t completely pleasant And just the memories and time passing 7 years since the Wall fell, 3 years since Irina his mother died Complicated to follow at times, but so, SO worth the effort This will be the best book I read all year


  6. Gill Gill says:

    I gave this book four stars It moved back and forth in time, and also locations, including East Germany pre and post fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia and Mexico This was a device I expected to find irritating, but in fact it worked well to build up the story and develop the characters I got a bit confused between the various characters and different generations of the same family I wished I d made a family tree as I went along.There was an unexpected incident near the end of the book that I f I gave this book four stars It moved back and forth in time, and also locations, including East Germany pre and post fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia and Mexico This was a device I expected to find irritating, but in fact it worked well to build up the story and develop the characters I got a bit confused between the various characters and different generations of the same family I wished I d made a family tree as I went along.There was an unexpected incident near the end of the book that I felt was unnecessary, and a distraction from the main story I m glad I read this and felt that it added a lot to my knowledge of life in East Germany I would definitely try another book by


  7. Biogeek Biogeek says:

    Dreary to the extreme To compare this to Buddenbrooks simply because they both deal with German families is like comparing a puddle to the Atlantic Ocean because they both contain water I had no problem with the moving back and forth between events during different periods I objected to those events being mundane and repetitive I know others will say that I am missing the point of the book It is exactly because nothing spectacular happens that makes this a great book I have to admit that I Dreary to the extreme To compare this to Buddenbrooks simply because they both deal with German families is like comparing a puddle to the Atlantic Ocean because they both contain water I had no problem with the moving back and forth between events during different periods I objected to those events being mundane and repetitive I know others will say that I am missing the point of the book It is exactly because nothing spectacular happens that makes this a great book I have to admit that I still require some interesting characters and something to focus my attention Had this not been the last book on shelf at the end of a vacation, I would definitely have put this down before the author reached the point where he did not know how to end the book


  8. Roger Brunyate Roger Brunyate says:

    Family SnapshotsThe description family snapshots comes from the book jacket, and it is a good one Twenty chapters of around fifteen pages each, showing moments in the life of the East German Umnitzer family, in the tumultuous half century between 1952 and 2001 It spans the building and fall of the Wall and reunification, but its roots go further back still, to the immediate aftermath of WW2, when one of the Umnitzers, Kurt, spent a decade in a Soviet camp, eventually returning with a Rusian Family SnapshotsThe description family snapshots comes from the book jacket, and it is a good one Twenty chapters of around fifteen pages each, showing moments in the life of the East German Umnitzer family, in the tumultuous half century between 1952 and 2001 It spans the building and fall of the Wall and reunification, but its roots go further back still, to the immediate aftermath of WW2, when one of the Umnitzers, Kurt, spent a decade in a Soviet camp, eventually returning with a Rusian wife.But the focus is less on political history than on family concerns We attend birthday celebrations and Christmas dinners We watch as people get married and divorced, as children fight with parents, and the old people gradually lose their competence We see four generations of men Wilhelm, the returning exile and virtually a founding member of the Communist party his son Kurt, an academic historian and serial womanizer who lacks the courage of his principles his son Sasha, who will flee to the West and begin a fitful career as a theater director and briefly in two chapters near the end, Sasha s teenage son Markus, who has grown up to hate him There is a conviction to all of these scenes which suggests that the author has lived through similar experiences himself though I hope the Ruge family issympathetic than the Umnitzers.Alas, family snapshots are alwaysinteresting for family members than they are for outsiders While recognizing their truth, I could not help getting confused, losing interest, and ultimately feeling bored For one thing, the vignettes are presented out of order 2001, 1952, 1989, 1959, and so on There is a pattern six chapters at Wilhelm s 90th birthday shortly before the Wall falls in 1989, five in 2001 featuring a trip that Sasha makes to Mexico, and nine others at roughly five year intervals spanning the entire period but it is hard to discern it while reading As a result, I was often confused, needing to work out each time how old everybody was, how they connected, and where they were in their respective life changes It did not help that while I believed them, I seldom liked any of them.Another family to which I do not belong is that of the German people, let alone the East German people I suspect the book is seeded with little references that resonate strongly with people who had actually lived there, but mean comparatively little to outsiders A few scenes come through strongly nonetheless, such as a faculty meeting at which Kurt has a chance to stand up for a colleague who is being targeted for political incorrectness, but most of it seems like other people s business in a time long ago I felt I leanedabout East Germany in a quarter of the space from the relevant chapters in Jenny Erpenbeck s Visitation, also set in the environs of Berlin Ruge s family album, by contrast, may be fine for his kith and kin, but it had very little new to offer me


  9. Allan Allan says:

    This took me around 100 pages to get into, but when I got used to the names of the various characters and the time shifting between eras, the complex family story became one that I was drawn in by.The novel, which tells the story of a family from GDR, before and after unification, touches on the politics of the time patriarch, Wilhelm and his wife Charlotte are initially in exile in Mexico, son Kurt has spent time in a labour camp in Russia, the return to 1st October 1989 throughout the book cha This took me around 100 pages to get into, but when I got used to the names of the various characters and the time shifting between eras, the complex family story became one that I was drawn in by.The novel, which tells the story of a family from GDR, before and after unification, touches on the politics of the time patriarch, Wilhelm and his wife Charlotte are initially in exile in Mexico, son Kurt has spent time in a labour camp in Russia, the return to 1st October 1989 throughout the book charts feelings as the regime is about to fall, family meetings after this show the difficulty some have in adjusting to their new found freedom but the novel isabout the family relationships between the males in particular No Stasi interrogations or arrests, but a son who has uncovered dubious facts in his father s cv, no great escapes, but a missing grandson as the family gather to celebrate the patriarch s 90th birthday Alexander s character is perhaps the most interesting we see him over the course of 30 years, directly, then through the eyes of others, the latest time as he travels through Mexico, trying to retrace his grandparents journey, using misappropriated money, while he battles terminal illness His mother, Irana, a Russian who struggles with alcohol and her philandering academic husband, Kurt, also makes an interesting journey.Quite a complex book, but one that, once you get used to the style, is pretty gripping Not a book with great reveals or plot twists, but one that portrays the complex nature of a family who just happen to live in GDR


  10. Daisy Daisy says:

    I love the structure of this novel It s a family story told from the different perspective of its members during different years out of order A constant is a certain day in 1989 that keeps getting retold, from varied points of view, and each time it s told, you go a little deeper into the day, you find out a littleI ve never seen exactly that before Of course I ve read stories that are told out of order so you know characters fates before they do and sometimes you get to go back and I love the structure of this novel It s a family story told from the different perspective of its members during different years out of order A constant is a certain day in 1989 that keeps getting retold, from varied points of view, and each time it s told, you go a little deeper into the day, you find out a littleI ve never seen exactly that before Of course I ve read stories that are told out of order so you know characters fates before they do and sometimes you get to go back and be with them again knowing what you know There must be a term for that my awkward description doesn t do it justice Anyway.The last chapter is told in the future tense I like that too I read this right after The Valley of Unknowing I can t seem to get enough of East Germany lately.Burgundian Monastery GooseThuringian dumplings Her beauty lies in the way that horror is spellbound in aesthetic formCoatlicue, Aztec earth goddess How do you feel the former presence of a grandmothervisiting her old house in Mexico City On the one hand it hurts to think that when you were close enough for me to touch, I neglected all of this On the other hand I am making the strange discovery that one does not necessarily have to possess what one loves.