City of Angels by Christa Wolf
or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud / A Novel

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Her brief stay in Los Angeles provides an opportunity to present a moral equivalence between totalitarian East Germany and the democratic United States.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

The stunning final novel from East Germany's most acclaimed writer


Three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the writer Christa Wolf was granted access to her newly declassified Stasi files. Known for her defiance and outspokenness, Wolf was not especially surprised to discover forty-two volumes of documents produced by the East German secret police. But what was surprising was a thin green folder whose contents told an unfamiliar—and disturbing—story: in the early 1960s, Wolf herself had been an informant for the Communist government. And yet, thirty years on, she had absolutely no recollection of it.
Wolf's extraordinary autobiographical final novel is an account of what it was like to reckon with such a shocking discovery. Based on the year she spent in Los Angeles after these explosive revelations, City of Angels is at once a powerful examination of memory and a surprisingly funny and touching exploration of L.A., a city strikingly different from any Wolf had ever visited.
Even as she reflects on the burdens of twentieth-century history, Wolf describes the pleasures of driving a Geo Metro down Wilshire Boulevard and watching episodes of Star Trek late at night. Rich with philosophical insights, personal revelations, and vivid descriptions of a diverse city and its citizens, City of Angels is a profoundly humane and disarmingly honest novel—and a powerful conclusion to a remarkable career in letters.

 

About Christa Wolf

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In 1980 East German author Christa Wolf took a trip to Greece accompanied by her husband, Gerhard. In 1982 she was awarded a guest lectureship at the University of Frankfurt, where in May she delivered a series of five "Lectures on Poetics" relating to her Greek travels and studies. The fifth "lecture" was ad raft of the novel "Cassandra," which she then revised and expanded for publication. The four introductory lectures were published separately in Germany under the title "Conditions of a Narrative: Cassandra; The Frankfurt Lectures on Poetics "("Voraussetzungen einer Erzahlung: Kassandra"). This volume presents the novel first, followed by its companion lectures, which illuminate its background and implications.
 
Published February 5, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 337 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for City of Angels
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by JOSHUA HAMMER on Feb 22 2013

...the book aptly captures Wolf’s tortured state of mind at a critical juncture...

Read Full Review of City of Angels: or, The Overc... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Moynihan on Feb 15 2013

Her brief stay in Los Angeles provides an opportunity to present a moral equivalence between totalitarian East Germany and the democratic United States.

Read Full Review of City of Angels: or, The Overc... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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