November 10, 2002

long time no write

Its been a while since I wrote anything on Soup. Apologies to Cos. I have been doing a lot of teaching and a lot of learning of my own over the past month.

Had my last teaching round. At a super powered state school. If we were Cuba this would be the school where overseas official visitors would be taken. To show what a great job is being done by the government. Had a pretty crappo time of if nonetheless. Could just be that I am so over being a student and constantly being appraised and marked by others? Will I ever be free of it (don't answer that anyone - I am aware of performance appraisals that await me).

Have had two job interviews. Another to go next Wednesday. Finding it hard to concentrate on final assignments when I am trying to nail the whole reason I am doing the Diploma - getting a job!!

In the meantime the world has gone crazi - er (as Darren has amply documented) and it seems that we are heading for paranoid times.

Book Review pertinent to current political climate:

Rachel Seiffert's The Dark Room is about three lives affected by the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. The war and its aftermath - two months, a year and fifty years later - is seen through the eyes of a young man, a girl and a school teacher. The young man Helmut is a photographer in Berlin who documents the disintergration of his world under Allied bombing. Lore's parents are Party members. She is charged with the task of getting herself and her four younger siblings across Germany through American, British and Russian zones on foot from the South to Hamburg where their Oma wait. They travel with a young man who has numbers tattooed on his arm... Micha is a school teacher living in Berlin in 1998. His grandfather was Waffen SS. Micha becomes obsessed with his families' war crimminal past and he travels to Belarus to find out what his Opa did fifty years ago.

Gripping reading about how individual lives are caught in history. Themes of complicity, cross-generational guilt and the banality of evil make this a heavy read. Seiffert's light and spare prose make it nonetheless beautiful. Really confronts the reader with how it is common hatreds and prejudices such as we are seeing now in Australia that forment hatred and organised mass murder.

The Dark Room was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker.

posted on November 10, 2002 at 01:32 AM by fleur.