Vanderbeke’s fun and enigmatic story is written in language well-suited to second-year students. It deals with the gender structures and power hierarchies within the family, and implicitly projects these out onto wider society. The air of anxiety and hypervigilance in the story represent a fascinating comment on the culture of surveillance and denunciation in the GDR, and the use of a nuclear family presents the operation of state power in strongly gendered terms.

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