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claudia bierschenk • never mind, comrade • memoir of 1980s east germany

Claudia Bierschenk — Never Mind, Comrade — Tangerine Press
Claudia Bierschenk — Never Mind, Comrade — Tangerine Press
  • Three editions: trade paperback; 100 numbered & 26 lettered copies

Life Behind the Iron Curtain 1982-89

“I live at the edge of a world called GDR, in a village surrounded by hills, valleys and thick forests. It could be beautiful, but the iron curtain runs through it like a scar, and we just so happen to live on the wrong side of it.”

Once upon a time, there was a small, three-letter-country known as GDR. Claudia Bierschenk spent the first fourteen years of her life there, until it disappeared from all maps of the world overnight.

Never Mind, Comrade isn’t about how awful life was behind the ‘iron curtain’ during the 1980s. Yes, we learn of a world ruled by ideology, restrictions, half-truths, superstition, but there is also magic and humour within these pages.

The country that Claudia Bierschenk grew up in no longer exists. Perhaps the strongest message from this book is that if the Berlin Wall can fall, anything is possible.

"A compelling and poetic account of the harsh realities of life behind the Berlin Wall. One of my books of the year, so far."

Adelle Stripe, author of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile (shortlisted: Gordon Burn Prize, Portico Prize) and Ten Thousand Apologies (Sunday Times bestseller).

WITH A FOREWORD BY PETE LALLY

HANS TICHA
Reproduction of iconic artwork by the legendary German artist. Limited editions only.

AVAILABLE IN THREE EDITIONS:

Paperback £12

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Stacks Image 475

Numbered £45

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Lettered/signed/artwork £150
LAST FEW COPIES

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More detailed information here:

First printing

£12 plus shipping

88 pages. Format approx. Format approx. 7"/170mm wide x 10"/240mm tall. Acid-free card covers and text paper; full colour title page; acid-free endpapers. Printed & bound in England. ISBN: 978-1-910691-70-0

100 Numbered copies

RRP £45 plus shipping

88 pages. Pinched Crown format, approx. 7”/175mm wide, 10”/250mm tall. Handbound at the Tangerine workshop with cloth-covered acid-free boards, conservation glue and hemp cord; foil embossed front cover artwork; colour title page. ISBN: 978-1-910691-71-7

Quarterbound with Fabriano Tiziano 'oatmeal' paper covered boards and grey cloth spine; acid-free text paper; Fabriano Tiziano endpapers; front cover artwork embossed in black, past down spine label.

Includes bound in print of Hans Ticha's Der Agitator (1988)

Signed by the author

26 Lettered/signed/artwork copies

RRP £150 plus shipping

88 pages. Pinched Crown format, approx. 7”/175mm wide, 10”/250mm tall. Handbound at the Tangerine workshop with cloth-covered acid-free boards, conservation glue and hemp cord; foil embossed front cover artwork; colour title page. ISBN: 978-1-910691-71-7

Quarter bound with grey w/blue flecks paper covered boards and navy blue Japanese silk spine; front cover artwork embossed in black; acid-free text paper; artwork by Hans Ticha Indigo printed onto Mohawk Superfine paper and forms part of the 3-page ‘stepped’ Fabriano Tiziano front endpapers — the other page colours being powdered blue and red; Fabriano Tiziano powdered blue endpapers.

SIGNED ARTWORK BY HANS TICHA
Indigo printed onto acid-free Mohawk Superfine paper.

All lettered copies are SIGNED by Hans Ticha and Claudia Bierschenk.

LETTERED COPIES SENT OUT WITH A COMPLIMENTARY 'READING COPY' OF THE FIRST PRINT PAPERBACK

LAST FEW COPIES AVAILABLE

"A magical, absurdist retelling of life on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, Never Mind, Comrade shows the reader what it's like to look at an authoritarian system through the curious eyes of a child. From the descriptions of school days to May Day celebrations, one marker looms particularly large in Bierschenk's childhood: the fence, arbitrarily erected in between villages and families. But by the end of the memoir, it has been reduced to what it always was: "the fence is just a fence."
Idler

"While the 1980s may not seem so long ago, even if you feel as though you have not lived through extraordinary times, [Never Mind, Comrade] shows the value of penning our own memoirs. Claudia Bierschenk’s have the added importance of shedding light on a fearful and important chapter of the European continent’s past, as seen through a child’s eyes."
Family Tree

EARLY PRAISE FOR:

"A compelling and poetic account of the harsh realities of life behind the Berlin Wall. These profoundly moving reflections on the Soviet Era are a testament to Claudia Bierschenk's exceptional skill as a writer, listener and observer. One of my books of the year, so far."

Adelle Stripe, author of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile (shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and Portico Prize for Literature). Her most recent book, Ten Thousand Apologies, is a music biography of the cult UK band, Fat White Family and a Sunday Times bestseller.

“Fascinating, absurd, tender postcards from the other side of the Iron Curtain. They build into an insightful, moving portrait of an entire lost society and those who survived it.”

Darran Anderson, author of Imaginary Cities (a best book of 2015, Financial Times, The Guardian). Inventory, his 2020 memoir about growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, was book of the week in the Observer and selected as a Book of the Year by The Quietus and Irish Times.

Claudia Bierschenk was born near East Berlin and grew up in Thuringia, in the former East Germany. She studied English, Spanish, and Political Sciences in Germany and Ireland. She learnt Russian in Moscow, worked as a volunteer in Israel, and was a teaching assistant in Chile. From 2004 to 2008, she lived and worked in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire in the UK, where she started writing fiction and poetry. Her work has been published in a number of independent literary magazines. Ms Bierschenk lives in Berlin.

Pete Lally lives on the island of Gozo with his partner, daughter and two dogs. In 2012 he formed Pig Ear Press, through which he produces limited run books made using traditional printing and binding techniques. His publications can be found in museums and galleries around the world, as well as in private collections.

Hans Ticha (b.1940) is one of the most important contemporary German graphic artists and illustrators. He has experienced and described 50 years of history and daily life in Germany through his paintings and has illustrated over 90 books. Herr Ticha has worked for all major publishing houses of the GDR and Büchergilde Gutenberg in the West. His works have been exhibited worldwide and are displayed and archived in the Germanic National Museum of Nürnberg, the Palace of Weimar, The German Historical Museum in Berlin and the Haus der Geschichte in Bonn. He lives in Germany.

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