German Comedy Scenes of Life after the Wall

Peter Schneider; Translated by Philip Boehm and Leigh Hafrey

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

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Peter Schneider takes us on an insider's tour of the Germanys that were and the Germanys that will be. In a shrewd, lucid narrative full of telling vignettes, Schneider captures the paradoxes and absurdities of life in the absence of the legendary Wall. He introduces us to the West German family man who counts on the Wall to keep his East Berlin mistress a secret, Stalinist functionaries who were just "following orders," and Western capitalists newly fond of the word "revolution."

Through these incisive anecdotes, Schneider addresses those aspects of the new Germany that are really to be feared: the cult of self-righteousness, the mistrust of foreigners, and especially the moral vacuum that threatens this nation so intent on forgetting the ghosts that haunt its memory. Elegantly written, full of wit and irony, this book offers a much-needed picture of Germany's new political order.


Praise for German Comedy

"If you are interested in what is happening in Germany and the former Communist world, you will have to read this book."—Stephen Vizinczey, The New York Times Book Review

"The German Comedy is one of the most lucid, down-to-earth accounts of a people and a city that any European writer has produced in years."—David Rieff, New York Newsday

"Peter Schneider is a masterful guide who wields a wicked blade—one that cuts through cant and pretension with wit and precision."—Josef Joffe, Los Angeles Times

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Peter Schneider; Translated by Philip Boehm and Leigh Hafrey

  • Peter Schneider is one of Germany's best-known political essayists. The author of The Wall Jumper and the novel Couplings. He lives in Berlin.

  • Peter Schneider © Ekko von Schwichow