Christoph Hein

Counter Eavesdropping - Anecdotes from the Last German-German War

(German title: Gegenlauschangriff)
ca. 123 pages
Christoph Hein
Foto: Christoph Hein
© Heike Steinweg

Born in 1944, Christoph Hein lives in Berlin. He has written novels, novellas, short stories, plays, essays and children’s books. His most recent novels were on the Spiegel bestseller list for weeks. His recent awards include the 2019 Prix du Meilleur livre étranger (for Glückskind mit Vater), the 2019 Samuel Bogumił Linde Prize and the 2017 Grimmelshausen Prize.

Awards (selection):
2019: Prix du Meilleur livre étranger (for Glückskind mit Vater)
2019: Samuel Bogumił Linde Prize
2017: Grimmelshausen Literature Prize
2013: Stefan Heym Prize
2012: Uwe Johnson Prize
2010: Eichendorff Literature Prize
2008: Walter Hasenclever Literature Prize
2004: Schiller Memorial Prize of the State of Baden-Württemberg
2002: Austrian State Prize for European Literature
2000: Solothurner Literature Prize
1998: Peter Weiss Prize of the City of Bochum
1994: Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
1990: Erich Fried Prize (Vienna)
1983: Deutscher Kritikerpreis

Rights available

By autumn 2019 the Wall will have been gone 30 years. This is Christoph Hein’s most personal book yet.


He is considered the chronicler of German-German relationships, the precise dissector of a formerly divided nation which still hasn’t found its way back together completely, and as a powerful teller of stories. On the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday, bestselling author Christoph Hein, who, until now, has been telling other people’s stories above all, now relates his own personal experiences at last: including how Thomas Brasch was betrayed by his father. How the director of »The Lives of Others« asked him about his personal experiences. About censorship and the (lack of) freedom to travel. And, last but not least, how all of this became history.

This time around Christoph Hein approaches German-German relations differently: on the basis of personal experiences which are at times funny, at times bitter, and sometimes both at the same time.


»In 28 wonderfully laconic anecdotes, Christoph Hein recapitulates the glamour and gloom of his career as a writer in the former GDR.« Adam Soboczynski, DIE ZEIT

»No matter whether well-researched or experienced firsthand: Reading Christoph Hein is always worthwhile. I recommend his books to everyone who wants to know what life was like in the GDR and what the unification of Germany meant for the people in the former East Germany.« Welf Grombacher, Nürnberger Nachrichten

»Even in the bitter and bizarre, comical and tragic anecdotes Christoph Hein stays true to his credo. He is defiant and critical of authority. […] From the verve and mischief of these memories we can deduce that the chronicler of East-West German relations is going to stick around.« Rainer Kasselt, Sächsische Zeitung

»Christoph Hein’s punchlines always have an aphoristic character, his language is lucid and revealing.« Südwest Presse

»The volume contains a few examples of daring exploits of civil disobedience.« Jamal Tuschick, Der Freitag

»Hein dishes out and it’s fun to watch him do it, even though the things he deals with usually aren’t all that funny.« Jan Emendörfer, Leipziger Volkszeitung - Bücherwelten

»The fact that he examines even the ugliest abysses with caution has always been one of Christoph Hein’s most impressive qualities. […] This spirit, that expresses even indignation with the means of equanimity and distance, is discernible even in the subtitles of his most recent work.« Lars von der Gönna, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

»It is a collection of flashing illuminations that identify what was meant to stay hidden [...] « Christian Eger, Mitteldeutsche Zeitung

Other publications

Guldenberg/Guldenberg (2021)

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Verwirrnis/Befuddlement (2018)

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France (Métailié)

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Trutz/Trutz (2017)

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Glückskind mit Vater/Portrait of a Son With Father (2016)

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Weiskerns Nachlass/Weiskern's Legacy (2011)

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Frau Paula Trousseau/Ms. Paula Trousseau (2007)

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In seiner frühen Kindheit ein Garten/In his early childhood, a garden (2005)

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Mama ist gegangen/Mama Has Gone (2005)

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Landnahme/Settlement (2004)

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Willenbrock/Willenbrock (2000)

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Von allem Anfang an/Von allem Anfang an (1997)

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Der Tangospieler/The Tango Player (1989)

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Horns Ende/Horn's End (1985)

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Der fremde Freund. Drachenblut/The Distant Lover (1982)

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