No Man's Land

Martin Walser, Author Henry Holt & Company $0 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0667-4
In a short, quietly stunning novel, Walser ( Runaway Horse ) mines the espionage genre to probe the cultural and political fissures dividing the two halves of Germany. Wolf Zieger, an emotionally numb East German spy, is having an affair with sexually voracious Sylvia who works in a West German ministry where she has access to military and NATO secrets. Wolf knows his strategic romance is destroying his wife Dorle, who is 35 and wants a child, but he can't stop. Dorle will become pregnant, but not before her husband, tired of living an elaborate deception, turns himself in to West German authorities. In the tense courtroom drama which takes up the last third of the book, we are privy to Wolf's thoughts as he condemns both Germanyscommunist and capitalistfor becoming servile shield-bearers for the camps they belong to. Walser offers Wolf's burnt-out condition as an emblem of fractured postwar Germany in this artful, totally believable story. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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