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Der geteilte Himmel

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  942 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Eine Auseinandersetzung mit den Jahren der deutschen Teilung.
Ende August 1961: In einem kleinen Krankenhauszimmer erwacht Rita Seidel aus ihrer Ohnmacht. Und mit dem Erwachen wird auch die Vergangenheit wieder lebendig. Da ist die Erinnerung an den Betriebsunfall und vor allem die Erinnerung an Manfred Herrfurth. Zwei Jahre sind vergangen, seit sie dem Chemiker in di
Paperback, 199 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (first published 1963)
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Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christa-wolf
In a divided country, heaven is split in two - just as hearts, families, friends and lovers are marked by the Berlin Wall built in the heads of people long before it is physically put in place to illustrate the failure of a people.

This is a strong contender for the saddest love story I have ever read - love for home, love for another person, love for ideas, love for life. Do I have to mention the loving heart is broken in so many places it is impossible to mend it?

Do I have to ment
Violet wells
There was a moment while reading this when I thought how fascinating it would have been had Christa Wolf stepped out of her narrative and related in a mirror narrative how difficult it is to write a novel when you live in a repressive regime that will inevitably censor your work. Unfortunately, she didn’t and what we get is a politicised love story whose pro-state propaganda reeks of fawning insincerity. Repressive regimes might provide inspiration in abundance but what artist would choose to li ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

[EDIT! Scroll for my review.]
Neil MacGregor picks up on this book in his great monography "Germany. Memories of a Nation":

"'Der geteilte Himmel' (Divided Heaven), written by the East German novelist Christa Wolf, was published in 1963, two years after the Berlin Wall went up. It made Christa Wolf's reputation, and has long been seen as the most thoughtful, poignant account of the diversity of the two Germanys as seen from the East. It tells the story of Rita and Manfred, young lovers living in
May 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
I just wrote a very wordy review, and it vanished. Well then, in short: This is Christa Wolf's first book, written in 1963.When it was published, it dealt with current affairs, as the story takes place shortly before the Berlin Wall is being built. However, reading it 50 years later, the book feels very dated and stilted. I thoroughly enjoyed some of her books, namely how Wolf has dug deeper and deeper into history with every new book she published. Her memories about growing up in the 1930s/40s ...more
Julia Reim
Apr 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was lame af. Can't believe I've read this. Would totally not recommend. Too much plot that doesn't serve any purpose.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feels like curling up on an armchair on a rainy day with a book in your lap.

This isn't like the other Christa Wolf novels I've read-- it's less striking, less strange. It's more directly political and more conventional. You can kind of tell it's her first novel-- but not because it isn't good. It's excellent. The central relationship isn't the type that I would normally care about-- but I did care about it.

I don't know enough about the political climate she's working in to fully appreciate tha
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is both a love story and a critique of the Socialist system of 1960s East Germany. Rita, a teacher training student, and Manfred, a PhD student in Chemistry, live in his parents’ house as they build a deep emotional and intellectual connection threatened only by their increasingly different view of how to exist in this world where one’s current work and future prospects can be overturned at any moment by too much openness and independence .
Set in 1960 and 1961 in East Germany before the wa
Katherine Kreuter
This probably needs to be read in the context of other works of German fiction both before and after the War. On its own, I'm not sure it would really engage someone coming from the outside. But if you have some exposure to 20th century German fiction, then this is a wonderful piece of that puzzle. It offers an intimate study of life behind the 'Iron Curtain' at a sensitive time - when the Berlin wall was being built. I have to admit I found it hard to get into the book, but that's partly becaus ...more
Jeffrey Manners
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in life in East Germany.
Shelves: overijse-library
A curious time capsule. Although Christa Wolff's novel does not give us an uncritical view of East German society, her main characters experience the range of human emotions and must face life's difficult decisions. Does love triumph? Does love lose out ? And what can love demand or expect of another person in regard to which society they wish to live in? Christa Wolff's novel tries to address these questions.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Read this at university and taught it in a German literature class as a German teacher some years afterwards. Remember really enjoying it.
Jennifer Avila
What a slog.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: berlin
Interesting look at a life very foreign from a viewpoint not often seen. But not an easy flowing read.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Has that first novel awkwardness, although interesting setting and some nice turns of phrase
Jacob Wren
Christa Wolf writes:

Rita had already thought out for herself anything she might have learned from that dreaded meeting for which such careful preparations were made. She acknowledged with a nod the criticism for cutting lectures and the young teachers announcement that she was to receive a reprimand. After all, it was the least they could do in the face of Mangold’s righteous indignation.

Then Mangold got up and talked for a long time. Rita barely listened to him, fo
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entry from the publishers: University of Ottawa Press:


First published in 1963, in East Germany, They Divided the Sky tells the story of a young couple, living in the new, socialist, East Germany, whose relationship is tested to the extreme not only because of the political positions they gradually develop but, very concretely, by the Berlin Wall, which went up on August 13, 1961.

The story is set in 1960 and 1961, a moment of high political cold war
May 28, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a book very much situated in its historical time, and in fact dates are stated constantly throughout. It never actually mentions the building of the Berlin Wall by name, but assumes that readers will know what the author is referring to when naming that date; the first human space flight is described, however. Apparently, in the summer of ’61, people were quietly convinced that war would break out at any moment. There seem to have been things going on within East Germany too, which I cou ...more
Aug 28, 2008 rated it liked it
A book written by an East German author well before the "Wende" discussing the human cost of the division of Germany? Many people will not believe such a book could have been written.

I'm a Wolf fan but find her work frighteningly difficult. It's a book you'll put down several times before finally finishing it.

Donia Al-Issa
Dec 09, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Of course I know that you can deceive yourself about many things (and that you have to, in order to stay alive)."
Least favourite work of German literature I read, which is disappointing because it was one that I was most excited for.
The fact that the story was told in both first person narrative and third was absolutely confusing to follow.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I read Der Geteilte Himmel in German. Because of that it was really hard to understand when the different time jumps happen. I think if I were to read it again I would be able to understand it a lot better.
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: duits
It was a bit Chinese to me (typical Dutch expression to say: I didn't understand it that well), but I liked it though. I expected it to be boring, but it wasn't boring at all. I especially liked the way Rita's feelings were described.
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
not the best book of Christa Wolf, but it teaches you a lot about east german history.
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: german-books
Between 2 and 3 stars. Liked style through most of it, but the political aspects are hard to swallow.
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was difficult to get through, maybe because of the translation? It started off well but dragged on for too long.
Nov 14, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: here, onr, german
threw some water on it (accidently of course) which makes it currently unsuitable for reading.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book gets more layered the more you think about it, but it seems inevitable that in 2016 some parts come across as propaganda for socialist Germany
Michelle Lisle
good story but sometimes hard to follow
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
One of the few books I read in German. I should re-read this because I remember liking it but not why...
Jun 19, 2013 added it
ehmmm..not my kind of book
Regine Hagen
read it too long ago, need to read it again
Sally Messerlian
Entertaining, but a little difficult to follow. Not sure why the raves about this book.
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Novelist, short-story writer, essayist, critic, journalist, and film dramatist Christa Wolf was a citizen of East Germany and a committed socialist, and managed to keep a critical distance from the communist regime. Her best-known novels included “Der geteilte Himmel” (“Divided Heaven,” 1963), addressing the divisions of Germany, and “Kassandra” (“Cassandra,” 1983), which depicted the Trojan War.< ...more
“Dammi un bacio" disse Rita. Stranamente commosso, Manfred avvolse il suo viso con le sue grandi mani calde e la baciò. "Stiamo bene insieme, noi due" disse lei piano, mentre si guardavano. "Le tue mani sono proprio fatte per me. E anche la bocca.” 2 likes
“Ci abituiamo di nuovo a dormire tranquilli. Viviamo senza risparmiarci, come ce ne fosse anche troppa di questa strana sostanza ch'è la vita, come se non dovesse avere mai fine.” 2 likes
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