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This report is taken from PN Review 44, Volume 11 Number 6, July - August 1985.

German Notes Michael Hulse
Of the new talents that have come to prominence in the 1980s so far in the Germanies, none has been so widely applauded - by the popular purse and by critics alike - as Christoph Hein. Hein's Drachenblut(Luchterhand, 1983), first published by Aufbau in East Berlin under the title Der fremde Freund in 1982, earned its author the Heinrich Mann Prize of East Germany's Akademie der Künste in 1982 and the West Berlin Critics' Prize in 1983, and has been acclaimed as one of the finest works of fiction to come from the German younger generation.

Born in 1944 in the small town of Heinzendorf in Silesia (now Poland), Hein grew up near Leipzig and afterwards went to a West Berlin grammar school because, as the son of a minister, he could not be educated beyond eighth grade in the GDR. 'It was an enormously exciting atmosphere,' Hein has said of Berlin at the end of the 1950s. 'Not only the change of political system - I was a small-town lad let loose in the big city. Suddenly you noticed what you'd been missing.' As a seventeen-year-old he found his contact with the West and his education abruptly cut off when the Berlin Wall was built; and continuing his education in East Germany was made difficult for him - for six years he got by in a variety of jobs before studying philosophy at Leipzig. After finishing his university studies in 1971 he was employed at the East Berlin ...

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