OK, y’all, so we’ve gotten to know American Ian and his buddy Mark, now it’s time to turn our eyes East and peek in on Dima and his fighter-pilot dad. What’s life like in East Berlin for the ex-patriot son of a Soviet general? This chapter gives us the first of many intimate glimpses into the Borin household.
Click here to read the chapter:
I arrived in Berlin mid-winter, and one of my first sensory impressions was the pervading stench of the brown coal burned in the East for heat and electricity. Here, we see Dima wishing the coal fire was starting faster! Berlin winters are not typically very cold by North American standards, but I often felt as cold as Dima does here, because central heating was very rare.
Several of my Russian language instructors were former Soviet officers. Two of them had defected rather dramatically. I base much of my description of Russian military home life on their personal stories and experiences. Borin was, in fact, the surname of my primary instructor, though he had been a high-ranking Soviet naval officer rather than an army officer. I named my characters after him to thank him for his dedication in pounding excellent, literary Russian into our heads.
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