The Wall in My Head


by Words Without Borders

November 9, 2009
anthology | pb | 241 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"

"A year or so after the Wall came down, I paid a brief visit to Moscow. The first thing I noticed was that the taxi cab drivers in Moscow, always masters of small talk, were repeating themselves." 
—Dubravka Ugresic, from "The Souvenirs Of Communism"

On the night of November 9, 1989, after months of unrest in Europe and East Germany, the checkpoints between East and West Berlin were suddenly, almost accidentally, opened, reuniting the two sides of the divided city, and bringing together a divided Europe and two worlds that had been apart for nearly thirty years. However, the fall of the Berlin Wall was just one of many signs of change that came with 1989; before long a spate of revolutions, the "Autumn of Nations," had spread across Europe and by December, it appeared that the Cold War was over. 

To mark the twentieth anniversary of this momentous collapse, and to shed some light on how it came to pass, Words without Borders presents The Wall in My Head, an exciting anthology that features fiction, essays, images, and original documents to pick up where most popular accounts of the Cold War end, and trace the path of the revolutionary spirit of 1989 from its origins to the present day. 

The Wall in My Head combines work from the generation of writers and artists who witnessed the fall of the Iron Curtain firsthand with the impressions and reflections of those who grew up in its wake and whose work, childhoods, and memories are all colored by the long shadow that it cast. The Wall in My Head provides a unique view into the change, optimism, and confusion that came with 1989 and examines how each of these has weathered the twenty years since that fateful year.

Highlights within include seminal excerpts from the work of Milan Kundera, Peter Schneider, Ryszard Kapuściński, Vladimir Sorokin and Victor Pelevin and new work from Péter Esterházy, Andrzej Stasiuk, Muharem Bazdulj, Maxim Trudolubov, Dorota Masłowska, Uwe Tellkamp, Dan Sociu, David Zábranský, Christhard Läpple, and a host of others.

Translated from Various Languages

About the Editors: Words without Borders is a nonprofit organization with an online magazine featuring works in translation from around the world. Each month it publishes a new "themed" issue that focuses either on a place or topic, and highlights some of the most interesting contemporary writing. The editors of Words without Borders have been involved in the publication of two other international anthologies:Literature from the "Axis of Evil" (New Press, 2006) and Words without Borders: The World through the Eyes of Writers (Anchor Books, 2007). More information is available at


"From the Yugoslav standpoint, the Cold War was like a football match in which the team you would usually root for is not playing; at the beginning you are neutral (or, like us, "non-aligned"), but over the course of the match you take joy in the good moves of a player from one or the other team, and your sympathies typically lie with whatever side is currently the underdog." 
Muharem Badulj, from "The Noble School"