A Lesser Day (Paperback)
In the freezing studios and working-class flats of Kreuzberg, we meet Sabine from across the bleak courtyard, a sturdy mother of four who disappears one day and whose adolescent daughters gradually grow wild; Martin, the charismatic boy with an alcoholic stepfather and his own hidden streak of cruelty; Ivo, a Croatian car mechanic who returns home to fight in the war as the landlady's nine-year-old son sets about throwing rocks at the windowpanes of his workshop. When the narrator travels to New York to attend her father's funeral shortly after November 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall fell, a period begins in which her hold on reality grows increasingly tenuous. Hiding away in her studio with her father's journals, her paintings building up inch by inch in a fruitless attempt to come to terms with human mortality, she sets about deciphering her father's encoded script. Addressing a continually shifting "you" in a search for emotional understanding initially directed at the author's dead father and then merging into a blur of intimate others, A Lesser Day explores the mechanisms of memory and suppression in an era of political upheaval. Little escapes the author's scrutinizing eye as she locates meaning in the passage of time as it inscribes itself into the myriad things around us: the mute, insentient witnesses of our everyday existence.