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One family. Three lives. One wall.

Crossing the Line

Aline Sax

1961. Julian lives in East Berlin and works in West Berlin, where he meets Heike. Until the Wall becomes impenetrable from one day to the next and he loses his job and girlfriend. He decides to flee, in search of Heike and a better life.

1977. Julian’s cousin Marthe is studying with her brother at university, an opportunity for which their mother has had to make great sacrifices. They want to change society from the inside. When the Stasi gets wind of them they turn out to be playing a very dangerous game, barely aware of the possible consequences.

Aline Sax shows how the damage inflicted by the wall carries on beyond its physical destruction.

1989. Sybille, Julian’s youngest cousin, has seen what the Wall has done to her family: one death, one fugitive, two disappearances and a suicide. She feels it is safer to remain under the Stasi’s radar. But when her grandmother slips into a coma, she wants to find her better care in the West, regardless of the cost.

In 'Crossing the Line' Aline Sax has written an epic tale of life with the Wall. This tense sketch of a family’s struggle for survival presents daily life in Berlin in a fascinating and convincing light. The threat of the Stasi gradually permeates, and the feeling that no one can be trusted continues to reverberate throughout.

As a reader you're swept up by Sax's unpretentious narrative voice and lifelike characters, their identities shaped by historical and geographical contingencies.
NRC Handelsblad