Date: May 2021
Duration: 6 hours 59 minutes
The story of a woman in Berlin and her American niece, a pair bound together and driven apart by loves, desires, frustrations, and addictions.
East Berlin, a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Eva, a retired nurse living in poverty in a slum-like apartment block, makes it through her day on a combination of stimulants and sleeping pills, wine and brandy. She waits for visits from her married lover and makes occasional attempts at contact with her distant daughter. Her friendly teenaged neighbor is her closest companion. Then her American niece, Maggie, arrives in Berlin. Eva is thrilled. But happiness begins to slide from Eva's grasp as Maggie's own fierce drug addiction reveals itself.
Tante Eva is a story that deftly takes in decades of family history and German history, estrangement, joys, and disappointments. It is a portrait of East Berlin in the years after the wall came down, and a story of a family torn apart by personalities, histories, and addictions. It is the finest book yet from Paula Bomer, an author whose work Jonathan Franzen describes as 'some of the rawest and most urgent writing I can remember encountering.'