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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Sun Mar 25th, 2007 1:55pm Post subject: Making History
I am currently reading “Making History” which has had a thought-provoking effect on me, and I would like to put one question to you. However, not the obvious one, as in “what would you change in history if you were in a position to do so?” – I´d like to take it one step further, and I hope this is not getting too personal:

Have you ever mused over what might have happened if your ancestors had NOT moved from place A to place B and you had been born in a different place, perhaps a different country even? In the latter case, would you still be a carrier, as it were, of a different culture? Would you pass your “heritage” on to your children to ensure that they can enjoy the best of both (or more) worlds? Has the blend of cultures enriched your life, or has it pushed you into some sort of identity crisis? Has it afforded you advantages by being bilingual for instance? Or what are the negative aspects of a multicultural family background? So have your ancestors in fact been making history? Or are you?

Did I say ONE question? :-//
Please feel free to share your thoughts, or feel free to just ignore my post… it may be too personal after all.

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AxmxZ


Moderator

Posted Sun Mar 25th, 2007 4:09pm Post subject: Making History

Have you ever mused over what might have happened if your ancestors had NOT moved from place A to place B and you had been born in a different place, perhaps a different country even? In the latter case, would you still be a carrier, as it were, of a different culture? Would you pass your “heritage” on to your children to ensure that they can enjoy the best of both (or more) worlds? Has the blend of cultures enriched your life, or has it pushed you into some sort of identity crisis? Has it afforded you advantages by being bilingual for instance? Or what are the negative aspects of a multicultural family background? So have your ancestors in fact been making history? Or are you?

Well, everyone makes history by being born where they are and not elsewhere. And you end up passing your heritage on no matter where you're born. For me, if my ancestors had not moved Eastward to Russia, the odds are very good I'd have never been born because they'd have all been shot or gassed - I'm pretty sure all my ancestors were Jewish at least three generations in, and at least some of them came from Central Europe, where being Jewish was usually a very bad idea in the last century.

As for identity crises.... I think some day there will be great doctorates written (if they aren't already) on the crises of the generation that came of age during the last years and the break-up of USSR. Now *that* is truly a lost generation without identity. Viktor Pelevin wrote decidedly stunning novels about the broken psyches of these people - he was born in 1962, so he was effectively raised and educated to be a citizen of a country that entered its raving death agony (popularly known as "perestroika") at the time when he was working on his degrees in engineering and humanities.

As for me, I spent the first eight years of my life in USSR, then four more in the new post-Soviet Russia, then ten in America and one in various parts of Germany. Taking into account that all my years in Russia I was educated bilingually in Russian and French, and that during highschool I lived in Texas and studied Spanish, my brains are basically stew at this point.

I'm ethnically Jewish without being the slightest bit inclined to any religion; I am spiritually the citizen of a dead country - I have spent all of three months in Russia since 1995, so I can lay absolutely no claim to knowing anything about its contemporary ways and pop culture: the Russian I'm fluent in is pure Soviet. I am an American in the sense that a generic US dialect is my primary means of communication with the world; however, during work hours I listen to online German radio, because I miss hearing Hochdeutsch, and after work I listen to Die Dingolstadt Comedyshow, because I get a huge kick out of the Bavarian dialect. Identity is a very malleable thing.

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Tourmaline


Member

Posted Sun Mar 25th, 2007 6:24pm Post subject: Making History
On a slight tangent to your query, I do sometimes wonder how my generation of my father's family would have succeeded (or not) if all branches had remained in the UK, rather than emigrate or spend time abroad because of their involvement with the armed forces. And if my schoolfriend's parents/grandparents had not decided to join the families migrating from the Commonwealth to the UK.

I do find it odd sometimes that I have friends now whose extended family all live within 100 miles of each other. That's like all living in the same street to me.

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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Mon Mar 26th, 2007 9:01pm Post subject: Making History
AxmxZ, thank you so much for sharing this very personal story with me/us. I had to swallow once or twice whilst reading the first paragraph... You are absolutely right, everybody makes history by being born where they are. But yours is an amazing story! I am impressed that you managed to compound it all in a few paragraphs...

Lost generation without identity, that sounds very depressing. I admit I know nothing about Soviet Russia (I spent about 2 weeks there in 1977 and all I remember is that I had never been so cold in all my life, and that it was all very grey and bleak, although some monuments left a lasting impression, like the Kremlin, the Mausoleum and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg) Perhaps I should read a novel by Viktor Pelevin to gain some insight...

Your brains are basically stew at this point X-D I like that... I don´t exactly know how to interpret this statement, but having knowledge of five languages is not such a bad thing... (perhaps you just find it confusing... I am going green with envy) - and I do understand why you get a huge kick out of the Bavarian dialect - it is charming

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absolutely curtains


Member

Posted Wed Mar 28th, 2007 5:30pm Post subject: Making History
I read Moab is my Washpot before I started reading this, and I found it difficult to believe (as much as one can believe a science fiction) because this guy Michael's supposed to be a bit cool, but all I can hear when I read it is good ol' Stephen speaking the words. Did anyone else find that?

I'd love to answer that question, Gerti, but unfortunately I've never thought about it.

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Jenn_E


Member

Posted Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 12:40am Post subject: Making History
You know curtains, the first time I read Making History was ages ago when the book was first published. At the time I knew very little of its author and has absolutely no problem conjuring the voice and the implied 'hipness' of the character. I recently read the book again, though, and now that I'm such a total Fry-tard, in my head I had Michael sounding just like Stephen.

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absolutely curtains


Member

Posted Wed Apr 4th, 2007 10:02pm Post subject: Making History
I've finished it now, and by the end of the book that problem had gone away as I had fully formed images of all the characters in my mind.

I really loved the book, although it did have a little to be desired (often I thought it was too abrupt with the changes of mood... not really enough set up y'know?), but my love of Steve and Pup made up for that.

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shatzi


Member

Posted Sat May 19th, 2007 4:52am Post subject: Making History
I loved this book! It was my first Fry novel, I took it on vacation last month.
Seriously, I finished the book, the last page, as my plane taxied into the gate and the end of my trip. I read it the whole time I was traveling back, except for the overnight sleep.
It gave me a wonderfully weird feeling, as Pup gets "back," and something is not quite right, all that in my mind. I walk off the plane from a trip to Hawaii, which is like a different world, and see the Welcome To Raleigh sign, and I am back in familiar territory. I had just finished it a few minutes earlier and it was like the book happening to me in my own little way.
Honestly, I picked up my luggage and dragged the bags to the parking garage. I SWEAR I remember walking out of the garage and going right, to the terminal, when I left two weeks before. I could not find my car now, I assumed I would go to the LEFT to get back to the car. It was on the right side of the garage. I was out of breath from dragging all that luggage but I had to laugh, I was back but something wasn't quite right!
I'll never forget that book for reasons, but this was the biggest!

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Britannicus


Member

Posted Sat Jun 16th, 2007 11:58pm Post subject: Making History
I requested that this book be put on hold for me at the library, but it somehow got lost during its journey from the shelf to the cabinet behind the checkout desk. But they've sent for another copy from a nearby city's library, so that is good. I just hope they...er...eventually find the other one. Poor book.

"Your room...it's CLEAN!!!"
"I prayed to God...and...it happened...but...where's my million dollars and horse!? Damn it!"

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 10:36am Post subject: Making History
I requested that this book be put on hold for me at the library, but it somehow got lost during its journey from the shelf to the cabinet behind the checkout desk. But they've sent for another copy from a nearby city's library, so that is good. I just hope they...er...eventually find the other one. Poor book.

Well, at least they try... It happened more than once to me that I requested a book (published long after 1945!) in the Bavarian State library which apparently got lost somewhere. They just shrugged it off and gave me a slip where it said the book was lost during the war I guess it's their way of saying that they don't give a toss whatsoever.

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Daria


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 3:02pm Post subject: Making History
Hi Soupy Twist, I think there are two possible explanations

First: A lot of Librarians are still civil servants with their own sense of humor

Second:Making History! Are you sure you are in your "real" world? Go and check a history book for the dates

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AxmxZ


Moderator

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 9:17pm Post subject: Making History
I requested that this book be put on hold for me at the library, but it somehow got lost during its journey from the shelf to the cabinet behind the checkout desk. But they've sent for another copy from a nearby city's library, so that is good. I just hope they...er...eventually find the other one. Poor book.

Well, at least they try... It happened more than once to me that I requested a book (published long after 1945!) in the Bavarian State library which apparently got lost somewhere. They just shrugged it off and gave me a slip where it said the book was lost during the war I guess it's their way of saying that they don't give a toss whatsoever.

I've had that slip handed to me many a time in the Berlin Stabi...

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Odora


Member

Posted Wed Jul 11th, 2007 7:36pm Post subject: Making History
The book blew out all of my current problems from my head. When I finished reading it, I realized, that it was already 4 a.m. and I had been sitting in the kitchen with almost frozen coffee in my cup for several hours.
Maybe, I'm an example of having too damn kinesthetic perception, yet the whole book deeply moved me.
I guess, I can write a lot on the themes, like the Nazi problem, or the problem of tolerance, etc., etc., - yet I also guess anyone who read the book has already made one's own conclusions.
The most precious about the book is that it makes you think.

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Maniac


Member

Posted Mon Aug 13th, 2007 6:53pm Post subject: Making History
Bit emotional getting to the end of this book.
I'm not a big reader, but read this in 4 days.
Was a bit confused at points as I don't speak German, but it was a good idea.
Nicely written.
For a while I heard Stephen's voice but then as I got to know the character, that faded.


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Fryed-And-Tested


Member

Posted Wed Mar 12th, 2008 5:27pm Post subject: Making History
Still can't find the audiobook. :'( This is one book I just can't read! It's so annoying because I really want to know what it's like! I tried to read it, but I couldn't quite follow what was going on, if you get me. Does anyone have the audiobook?

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