The Wall Jumper
By Peter Schneider
For 28 years, the Berlin Wall was more than just the defining feature of a divided city and a divided country; it was the physical embodiment of the conflict between the Eastern and Western worlds. Peter Schneider’s “The Wall Jumper” goes beyond the politics of the wall to explore the historical phenomenon through a different, more personal lens. It reads almost as a series of short stories, narrated by an unidentified man who has lived in West Berlin for 20 years. Initially, he came to the city for work and for a girlfriend but stayed because all the other cities in West Germany now seem to him “artificial” – ironic, considering the man-made structure that splits Berlin in half.
This book is very clearly not just about physical barriers but psychological ones too. At the outset, the narrator describes feeling more affinity with the people who live in New York than with those in the other half of the city he’s lived in for two dec