I'm really hoping my meager description will be enough to ID this book. It was a pretty small book located in the nonfiction section of my local public library, in the US. I read it during 2015/2016, in English. It was in first person from the perspective of the journalist who was staying in Germany, and alternates to third person when describing historical events.

It was an adult nonfiction book about a female journalist who travels to Europe (Germany, I believe), and stays in an apartment while she tries to piece together the life of a woman who lived during WWII. There was a person named Miriam. I can't remember her exact involvement, but she was a major part of the book. It was bittersweet and interesting.

I half-remember the ending: the journalist goes to a museum and goes through their archives and artifacts. Also, I remember Miriam (I think) and her husband had a very interesting relationship: they loved each other, but they didn't spend much time together. Oftentimes, because their work was unpredictable, one would be leaving while the other would be arriving home. But, the journalist explained that that kind of relationship worked well for them.

Spies, maybe? Leaflet distributors? I can't remember anymore.

  • 1
    Hi and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. What language was the book in? Do you remember any more details about the book—what its cover looked like, etc? How long ago is "multiple years ago"? Please read the suggestions in the tag wiki for identification-request and edit your question to include the sort of details mentioned there if you can. That will increase the chances of a successful identification. Thanks!
    – verbose
    Mar 21, 2021 at 7:19

1 Answer 1


I’ve no great certainty about this, but ‘Stasiland’ by Anna Funder may fit the bill.

Per Wikipedia:

Stasiland by Anna Funder is a book published in 2003 about individuals who resisted the East German regime, and others who worked for its secret police, the Stasi. It tells the story of what it was like to work for the Stasi, and describes how those who did so now come to terms, or do not, with their pasts.

Funder, an Australian, found that Germans often resorted to stereotypes in describing the Ossis, the German nickname for those who lived in East Germany, dismissing questions about civil resistance. She used classified ads to reach former members of the Stasi and anti-Stasi organizations and interviewed them extensively

From the BBC

While working in Berlin after the fall of the Wall, Australian Anna Funder became curious about the stories of the former East Germans who had lived under the watchful eye of the Stasi - the former East German ministry of state security.

She was also intrigued about the stories of the Stasi men themselves – tracking them down to talk to them by placing an advertisement in a newspaper.

In a series of meetings, Anna pieces together what life was like then and how they are coping with the aftermath.

From Litcharts.com

In 1996, Funder’s train arrives in Leipzig. There, Funder meets Miriam Weber, a woman in her mid-forties. Miriam explains to Funder that she became an “Enemy of the State” as a teenager. Back in 1968, she was involved in demonstrations against the destruction of the Leipzig University Church. Later, after the police began attacking demonstrators, Miriam and her friend made pamphlets criticizing the police. A few days later, the Stasi

  • Yes, that's the book!! Thank you so much :). Apr 29, 2021 at 18:35
  • Yay! happy to help
    – Spagirl
    Apr 29, 2021 at 18:36

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