Disillusionment is a sign of aging

Terminal moraines

Lifelines in times of upheaval
A woman remembers, she thinks. More than ten years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The daughter, one of the many so aptly described by Jana Hensel Zone childrenhas long since left the house. And the parents? What about the generation who, at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, had already passed the middle of life, their "best years"? In Terminal moraines Monika Maron primarily tells of the GDR generation, who welcomed the fall of the Berlin Wall, then was overwhelmed by the many upheavals and now looks a little perplexed into the future.
Standstill in the land of new beginnings?
The focus is on Johanna, a writer who, with her husband Achim, had created a refuge for herself during the GDR era in Basekow, a place in the outskirts of Berlin. They had come to terms, everyone found their niche. Johanna was satisfied with herself and the world if she succeeded in conveying a little criticism of the system in her biographies; also Achim, who put all his energy into researching the work of Heinrich von Kleist.
At the beginning of the novel it is autumn in Basekow, finally. Johanna has undertaken a work on Wilhelmine Enke, the confidante and lover of Friedrich Wilhelm II, but she does not want to make any progress. She is paralyzed, reasoned about the advancement of time and aging. What is left for a woman who - statistically speaking - still has twenty to thirty years to live, but cannot influence what is happening around her?
Write down your new biography
That was exactly what Johanna was not ready for after the fall of the Wall. In the GDR her work was meaningful, socially important. Today it is their livelihood, nothing more. She has not learned anything else, says Johanna. Johanna does not mourn the past, on the other hand she cannot cope with the present and the aging process.
Terminal moraines is not just a portrait of the state of mind of the ex-GDR citizens now around 60 years old. Using the example of her friend Christian P., the breaks that everyone in our society has to be prepared for become visible. Christian P. not only loses his wife to a younger man, as an unprofitable humanities scholar he is "rationalized" away by his Munich publishing house into a small attic room.
Say goodbye and start over and over again
Eventually Johanna realized that she had not succeeded in seeing the end of the GDR and her youth as a chance for a beginning. But it was not the Western Christian P. who gave her the impetus to change, but the Russian Igor, an enterprising, cheerful "barbarian".
In Terminal moraines Monika Maron takes stock carefully but clearly. It is a carefully composed and at the same time fluently told story, with which the reader can distance himself from the excitement of everyday life, a novel in which, as many critics have noticed, not much happens. His message - don't give up, always start over - sounds a bit banal, but in times of upheaval, when this attitude is becoming a survival strategy, it is more important than ever. (Birgit Kuhn)… more