To write this non-fiction work about life in the former East Germany, Anna Funder interviewed former Stasi officers and the people they surveilled. Described in the National Library of Australia record as 'A book of travel, history and biography that reads like a documentary novel,' Stasiland takes 'a deliberately subjective and "literary" approach' to its material with an 'emphasis on a sympathetic authorial persona as the source of the reader's perspective' (Susan Lever 'The Crimes of the Past: Anna Funder's Stasiland and Helen Garner's Joe Cinque's Consolation'. Paper delivered at the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) conference 2006).
Unit Suitable For:
AC: Year 11 (English Unit 1 and Unit 2)
Stasiland presents the story of German reunification through a re-presentation of personal experiences drawn from interviews and research undertaken by Anna Funder. In the context of the fall of communism, and with a focus on the role of the Stasi in the lives of East Germans, Funder confronts the reader with characters traumatised by the past and dislocated in the present. Narrative itself provides a human strategy for understanding time, process and change and this is particularly evident in this text. Funder presents her text in a hybrid genre, that of literary journalism, where she combines the power of facts with the craft of fiction.
Written for the Reading Australia project, this essay serves as an introduction to Anna Funder's Stasiland. Knox discusses the cultural setting in which the work was first published and examines the narrative techniques that Funder uses to depict her subjects. Knox also discusses how Funder's gender and her status as a foreigner affected her telling of the story.