Beloved storytelling uncle,
Vanished without a trace,
will the Stasi erase Lena, too?
Visiting Uncle Erich is the high point of Lena’s week, as the 17 year old trudges through nights cleaning the Stasi secret police headquarters in East Berlin, but then he’s gone.
Again her brain feels like buzzing wasps, as it did after both parents died in a factory explosion, and Lena finally emerged from the psychiatric hospital and was sent to live with a distant aunt in the city.
Aunt now denies that her own brother even existed, but Lena is certain that she can find information in the Stasi offices, if she can just stay clear of the groping officer who always works late.
In 1980s East Germany, the walls have ears and every neighbor is a spy reporting to the House of One Thousand Eyes so the Stasi can keep their Better Germany safe.
Maybe Uncle’s actor friends from the cafe know where he was taken?
Maybe they can’t trust her because she works for the Stasi!
Maybe they can help her go somewhere safer, past the Wall, to the West?
Step back into Lena’s grey world where the Communist Party punishes original thought, truth cannot be trusted, and yet sometimes the tiniest sprout of hope may stay alive.
What freedoms do we take for granted today?