April 18, 2024


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Review of Constanze Newman's memoir “The Year Without a Summer”

Review of Constanze Newman's memoir “The Year Without a Summer”

FFamily and origin also determine which people distance themselves from. “This quote comes from Constanze Newman and gives an impression of how important her origins and family background were to the author. This in turn perhaps explains why Newman submitted the second book about her life and her family story entitled The Year Without Summer. In 2021, the then head of the Berlin publishing house Aufbau published the title “Wellenflug,” which tells the story of her great-grandmother Mary and her mother-in-law Anna. Although “Wellenflug” is still published under the generic name “novel,” that name is missing from the current title, raising the possibility that Newman is telling her own story in it.

The anonymous narrator of A Year Without a Summer begins with her childhood in Leipzig: “When I was young, I lived in a country that no longer exists,” and she was only three years old when her parents tried to escape the city of the German Democratic Republic. “Little Gray Country.” The three hide in the smuggler's box, but German Shepherds attack the border and the escape fails. Her parents are then arrested and spend a year and a half in prison before being ransomed by the Federal Republic and deported west. A few months later, the daughter was also allowed to leave East Germany, with the family initially finding accommodation in Kreuzthal, and then finally starting a new life in Aachen.

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