|Cover Design by Karen Dahl|
Dreaming in German turns on the author's immigration to South Carolina at age 13, her childhood spent shuttling back and forth between East and West Germany, and her struggle with the meaning of home as Germany transformed from two states to one.
This book combines an immigrant memoir from a child of the global professional class with an inside look at the effects of German division on family relationships from the Western side of the Wall.
The story begins with intimate portraits of daily life in both Germanies during the fifties and early sixties. When the author's father, who had spent several years as a POW in the US, accepts the opportunity to realize his dream to return to America, the family encounters culture shock: a move from a densely populated urban area to upstate South Carolina. As time passes, the narrator is torn between the desire to return home and her growing adaptation to life in the a new country. She moves to New England, then the Midwest feeling less out of place with each move, but still longing for home. When the Wall falls so suddenly in 1989, she is euphoric - being able to visit family without crossing the dreaded East German border was a childhood fantasy she never expected to realize. But with reunification come questions of inheritance, and the idyll of family unity explodes as the country's borders dissolve. In the end, she finds that for an immigrant there can never be a simple answer to the question: where is home?