By Uta Krause
This thrilling novel takes place in 1984, in the midst of a surveillance society, which in many ways is reminiscent of George Orwell’s classic “1984.” It is the German Democratic Republic, a society dominated by lies and an intricate network of spies, various mechanisms of oppression, a petty criminal bartering system, deadly maneuvers to escape the regime, “unofficial collaborators” of the secret service, and censorship – it is a world today’s children can hardly imagine, or conceive that it ever had existed on German soil, let alone that such regimes, unfortunately, remain a horrifying reality today in many countries in the world.
“In the Labyrinth of Lies” Ute Krause describes this reality without pathos, and in prose that is simple and easy to understand. The entire political context, as well as the facts necessary for a child to understand the period, are woven inconspicuously into the story of twelve years old Paul.
While trying to flee from East Germany, the parents of 8-year-old Paul are caught and sent to prison. Paul is put into an East German children’s home. But his grandmother and uncle do all they can to get permission for him to live with them.
In 1988 Paul is now 11 and has been living with Grandmother and his Uncle Henri in a small apartment in East Berlin for two years. He misses his parents terribly and is longing for them to come out of prison. But then he learns that they have been ransomed and are beginning a new life in West Berlin. Paul is devastated for he knows that he is not allowed to leave East Germany and it will be decades before he sees his parents again.
Ute Krause, (born in 1960 in Berlin), grew up in Turkey, Nigeria, India and the USA. She studied Visual Communication in Berlin and Film Studies at the Munich Academy of Film. She is an illustrator, cartoonist, film-director and screenplay writer as well as writing picture books and children’s novels, and has illustrated more than 400 books for children. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and adapted for television. She lives with her family in Berlin.