From the watchtower
Barron, Nathaniel, author
Doenges, Judy, advisor
Levy, Ellen, committee member
Kirby, Rachel, committee member
This novel excerpt, composed over a period of three years, deals with surveillance culture in the former East Germany and with the parallels between memory and surveillance. Bernhard, a former East German Border Guard, shot and killed a man in the line of duty, but his crime was covered up by the East German police, the Stasi, and he was never prosecuted. Eighteen years after Reunification, he receives a box full of old Stasi documents, and he realizes that they tell the story of an old comrade of his, Hagen Finsterbusch, who was recruited by the Stasi during the last years of the regime. In exploring Hagen’s story, Bernhard is forced to confront his own complicated feelings toward his crime. Eventually Bernhard begins to see parallels between Hagen’s acts of surveillance and his own obsession with coming to understand what led him to commit his crime.
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