It is 1960 and the border between East and West Germany has long been closed. Uli and Elisabeth's brother Konrad has already fled to the West. Disillusioned by life in the East, Uli also dreams of escape, while Elisabeth still holds out hope for the political project of the GDR. With physical checkpoints and ideological tensions between them, the siblings must navigate emotional rifts as they enter into a drama fueled by love.
Reimann’s own literary style is an attempt to find space for subjectivity. Lucy Jones’s translation excellently captures the dry wit, expressionistic boldness and seductively odd rhythms that make the original German so charismatic. Elisabeth is spiky and appealingly flawed ... There is something intoxicating about Reimann’s dense, jagged prose.
Reimann was interested in the “I” of the self at a time when the collective “we” dominated — and the tension runs through Siblings, which repeatedly slips between first person singular and plural. It makes her work feel modern, especially in an age of social media-fuelled self-revelation ... Reimann’s novel has the tense mood of a play ... She is a flash of colour in a grey landscape.