Regina Scheer's Machandel: The Crossroads of Unforgetting, Remembrance, and Forgetting

Edward James Weintraut


In her debut novel, Machandel (2014), Regina Scheer offers a panoramic portrayal of 20th- and 21st-century experiences on East German soil, ranging from the plight of four individuals in the 1940s to the disillusionment of three in post-unification Germany. As she explores this chronology Scheer abstains from making any accusations or condemnations, nor does she indulge in any (n)ostalgic sentiment. She allows the five main characters to recount their life story in direct interior monologues; at no point are their musings challenged by other characters or contextualized by authorial intervention. These private revelations are accompanied by rationales for both sharing and repressing memories, especially those triggered by trauma. Machandel does not resolve the dynamic between remembering and forgetting, but invites the reader to invest emotionally in the stories presented, drawing personal conclusions about what should or should not be passed on to future generations. (EJW)

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