Welcome to my stop on the tour for Half A World Away!
Half A World Away
Author: Sue Haasler
Publisher: The Dome Press
Publication Date: April 12, 2018
East Berlin, 1987.
Charming and talented Alex dreams of becoming a professional saxophonist while working long hours in the family bakery. Detlef, lonely, repressed, and a small-time Stasi informer, develops an obsessive love for him. But Alex only has eyes for Nicky, an English woman visiting East Berlin as an au pair.
With no natural outlet for his feelings, Detlef’s passion becomes destructive, his need for approval enmeshed with the latent homophobia of the regime. As Alex’s band becomes more successful, he moves closer to influences considered subversive by a state that has eyes and ears everywhere, and Detlef’s passions threaten to endanger all of them.
Disclaimer: I was planning on having my review up at the time of this posting but, unforeseen circumstances with my course load for my master’s program, the review will be a few days late. Please enjoy the guest post that the author, Sue Haasler, wrote down below and look out for the review in a few days. Also, don’t forget to check out the other stops on this tour.
Guest Post By Sue Haasler
There’s a scene in the book where Nicky goes to visit the Berlin Wall from the west side, looking at it and thinking about her new East German friends who are at the other side, and how her perception of the East has changed since she got to know them.
I based this on an actual visit I made to West Berlin in 1987 (the year most of the novel is set). A friend and I had gone there for work, and having a bit of time to kill we did what Nicky does and got a U-bahn train to the nearest point to the Wall on our map. We sat by the river as she does, looking at the watchtower and the guards. I remember thinking that the East side did look very forbidding and very alien. I often wonder how I would have felt about it if I’d known that my future husband was there?
The street ended abruptly, and there was a river in front of her. It was always lovely to sit by a river in the middle of a city, she thought, as she sat down on a bench, the sleeping child beside her. But was there any other city in the world where the river view came complete with barbed wire and a watchtower? And soldiers very visibly holding guns. She shivered, and it wasn’t just the damp April breeze, or the sight of something that looked like a scene from a war movie. It was the thought of the Wall itself, and how it would have felt to her if she hadn’t already spent two weeks in East Berlin. Across the river, across the Wall, she could see flats and houses, and it looked like a prison camp. But she knew that somewhere over there would be Ute and her friends in the band; and Frau Dannowitz keeping the stairwell of their own apartment block spotless; and the girl with the too-bright eye shadow and the friendly smile who worked in the Apotheke down the road from the flat. There were people going to work, falling in love, having babies, having arguments, playing music. It was just like anywhere else. But there was the Wall and the Iron Curtain and because of that, if you didn’t know any better, it seemed frightening.
The guard on the watchtower was looking at her. Probably thinking she was a typical tourist, there to gaze pityingly upon the imprisoned masses. She wanted to shout out that she was from his side. If she’d been able to make the German phrase for it, she probably would have. So she smiled instead and she could have sworn he smiled back.
Sue Haasler was born and brought up in Co. Durham and studied English Literature and Linguistics at Liverpool University.
After graduating she moved to London and worked for three years as a residential social worker. Since then, she has lived as an administrator for a disability charity, which recruits volunteer carers for disabled adults.
Many of the volunteers are from abroad and this is how she met her husband, who is from the former East Berlin.
Sue has written four books, True Colours, Time after Time, Two’s Company (all Orion paperbacks) and Better Than the Real Thing. Two’s Company was optioned for film by Warner Bros.
She has been commissioned by the BBC to write an authorized tie-in to Holby City. She is married with an adult daughter and lives in London.