Having finished Nehmet’s part of the story, I am now in the midst of writing the second half, telling the story of Lisa, the daughter of former East Germans, below is a short summary of the five vignettes that make up her section of the writing
Die Mauer (The Wall)
The first section introduces the reader to Lisa and tells a bit about her family history. Her parents were staunch believers in communism and supporters of the East German state. Having grown up hearing her parents wax nostalgic about the glory days of the German Democratic Republic, Lisa feels disillusioned now that she will never be able to go to this place. She compares herself to Mehran Karimi Nasseri, a man who lived in a French airport for close to 20 years after his homeland ceased to exist. She feels much the same way about her life and the country she lives in. The title, “The Wall,” refers both to the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the barrier between East and West, as well as the wall Lisa feels around herself, the distance from others she deals with as a young woman.
This section explores Lisa’s relationship with her mother. Lisa is 6 and is laying in bed with the flu as a blizzard rages outside. Her mother comes to tell her a bedtime story. She tells the story of a princess and her prince, that lived in a magical kingdom where everyone did their fair share and no one went hungry. One kingdom over lived a greedy wizard. One day, tired of being alone he began playing a cursed violin, and hypnotized the townspeople of the beautiful kingdom to come be his slaves. He kept doing this until one day there was no more kingdom, there was just the princess, all else was owned by the greedy wizard. To Lisa this is just a bedtime story, but to her mother this is how she saw her homeland’s disappearance.
Rote Haare (Red Hair)
This section explores Lisa’s adolescence. At 13, she arrives at a new school to find she is the only one with red hair. She spends the first day drawing stares from her classmates, especially the boys. As the year progresses she makes a few friends but remains very much a loner. The boys in her grade make fun of her scorching red hair, calling her many different names. She becomes so upset that she comes home one day and tries to dye her hair brown. Her mother finds her in the process of this and stops her. They talk about what it means to be different and Lisa gains a new understanding and appreciation for what sets her apart.
This section details Lisa’s meeting with Nehmet from her perspective
This section, the final one in the book, takes place after Lisa and Nehmet have graduated from Gymnasium (comparable to high school) and go on a trip with many friends to Turkey to revel and celebrate their graduation. Nehmet and Lisa have been dating on and off for two years but next year Nehmet will go to Heidelberg for university while Lisa will go to England. The two must come to terms with each other as well as themselves before they say goodbye and start new chapters of their lives.