Simon Urban's book can be read as an appeal to return to a pre-1968 liberalism, of a kind Löning's party once supported. It can easily be argued that such a liberalism has never existed, no more than a 'true' or 'real' socialism has ever existed, and so the return Urban advocates is to a never-never land. As every bit Peter Pan as the alternative-future, 'the-Berlin-Wall-never-fell', socialist East Germany still standing in 2011, where Urban sets his stage. Here, underneath the techno-geek veneer, with almost all socialist cars running on stinking bio-fuel – and telecommunications (i.e. spying) technology being the only scientific field where the East has the edge – everything's as it never was. The East runs on, cocooned in an impenetrable smog that separates it from history. Its inhabitants chunt on, dragging their inferiority complexes regarding western trouser-wear & cars behind them, made miserable by the Stasi but cynical of any political challenge to the status quo. Many western readers – and perhaps even some who grew up or even lived as adults in the east – appear to have enjoyed the caricatures, denied real choice through a relationship with history, that the book allows us to see through the smog.
iQuoted in Die Tageszeitung, 12.6.2013: http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/digitaz/artikel/?ressort=a1&dig=2013%2F06%2F12%2Fa0039&cHash=437ff57bae0c6218c4a2c9de90e73a64
ii This and all other excerpts from my novel are my own translations from Urban, Simon. Plan D. 2013. p. 448
iiiIbid, p. 498-499
ivIbid, p. 551