Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Settlement” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.61  ·  Rating details ·  114 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In “one of the most important German novels of recent years,”* a man, a town, and a country wrestle with fifty years of displacement and political upheaval

Provincial Guldenberg is still reeling from World War II when a flood of German refugees arrives from the east, Bernhard Haber’s family among them. Life is hard enough—Bernhard’s father has lost an arm and his carpenter’
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by Metropolitan Books (first published January 31st 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Settlement, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Settlement

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Christoph Hein became one of my favorite writers before I had finished even 20 pages of this book. His intense ability to see people through the eyes of each other, of history, and of politics is incredibly unique and beautiful. In Settlement we see the main character through many people's perspective, though never his own, and through these people we see a story unfold of a child who becomes a refugee- an outcast, and takes great effort to become a part of the same town, the same community that ...more
Nov 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The very best stories are simple and while the premise of this book - the rise of one boy/man from post-WWII to post-Wall in East Germany - seems ambitious, the novel initially doesn't present itself as such. The beauty of this book is in its simplicity.

Bernhard Huber's life really isn't the central focus, though he is the central presence in the five narrators' stories and these stories each provide the opportunity to explore East Germany from multiple perspectives from its transition to Commu
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Eastern Europe after the war. Good book, some twists I expected never occured. Enjoyed the storytelling of various character's views on the main character.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Read it for school]
I really liked the easy-going writing style of the author and how the reader gets to know the story of a boy/man (Bernhard Haber) without ever having read his POV or an omniscient narrator but through the POVs of people surrounding him throughout his life.
It was an entertaining read, however from time to time I found some of the short tales and digressions a tad bit too long drawn-out and hence I struggled to completely concentrate and not get easily distracted throughou
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
What I enjoyed most about the book is that you get to read about the main character Bernhard from other people's perspectives. You don't learn and understand who Bernhard is from his own narration but from what other people think about him. There is mystery to the character of Bernhard and the reader is able to come up with their own conclusions for this character.

What I did not like about the story was the inclusion of the character of Katharina. I would have perferred if another character woul
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-in-german
a left-liberal german newspaper wrote: at last: the great novel on Germany. - thank god, it is wrong ;D.

i have had a good hand with books recently. this one amazed me by telling an interesting, yet critical story on the GDR and the fate of people having been pushed out of the areas east of the Oder/ Neiße. It's not one of those "that was a crime and a big human tragedy for us Germans" accounts but undercuts it by concentrating on how those people were regarded as outcasts and competitors for res
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Bernhard, a refugee whose family was "settled" in East Germany following WWII. The refugees were treated harshly by the townspeople with everything from verbal harassment to destruction of their meager property. Five people from Bernhard's life give accounts of their relationship with him & the reader sees him rise above the pettiness and make a life for himself, rising to a comfortable life as an adult. Sadly, his own son shows signs of prejudice to foreigners as the no ...more
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was für ein wunderbares Buch! Durch die Perspektive verschiedener Personen in seinem Umfeld wird die Geschichte von Bernhard Haber, geboren in Breslau, mit seiner Familie als kleiner Junge nach Guldenberg im Osten Deutschlands umgesiedelt, erzählt. Von Habers Schulzeit bis zu seinem Erfolg als Geschäftsmann kommen unterschiedliche Erzähler zu Wort, weshalb ein unglaublich eindringliches Bild des Hauptprotagonisten entsteht. Super!
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
Nicht schlecht! Aber jetzt hat es das Image als Schulbuch...das ist nie gut!

Aber gerade im Rueckblick war es schon recht spannend und unglaublich bewundernswert, wie Haber sein Leben aufgebaut hat.

Viel moechte ich garnicht sagen, außer das es echt besser ist als es die Kurzbeschreibung es hervorgibt. Es lohnt sich das Buch zu lesen, aber Hoehrbuch geht noch besser.!
Really quite tedious - none of the characters was particularly interesting and the book just plodded through the various stages of Bernhard's life. I guess I learned that people in small towns are quite narrow-minded and distrustful of strangers...but i think I was aware of that..
Dec 01, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I actually want the english translation, Settlement, translated by Philip Boehm
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010, german-lit
Once you get past the uninspiring title and cover design - the book is terrific. On the IMPAC Dublin 2010 short list.
well written may read addition works
Re-read for my exam still: 2/5 stars.
Carolin Hirsch
rated it it was amazing
Aug 16, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Apr 07, 2008
rated it liked it
Oct 09, 2017
Jonathan yates
rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2015
rated it it was ok
Oct 19, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2009
rated it liked it
Oct 07, 2014
Christiane Alsop
rated it did not like it
Feb 28, 2010
rated it liked it
Mar 05, 2009
Petra Kriegel
rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2012
rated it liked it
May 11, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jul 29, 2009
Brien Southward
rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2012
Timo Kießling
rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2017
Nicole Montagne
rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Christoph Hein is a German author and translator.

Growing up in Bad Düben near Leipzig as a clergyman's son and thus not allowed to attend the Erweiterte Oberschule in the communist East, he received secondary education at a gymnasium in the western part of Berlin. After jobbing as an assembler, bookseller and assistant director, he studied philosophy. Upon graduation he became dramatic adviser at
More about Christoph Hein...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »