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Sektion 20 - Paul Dowswell 4.5 stars.Firstly, there is one thing that I wish I had done: I wish I had read Sektion 20 after I had visited Berlin, after I learnt more about The Cold War, the Stasi, and the idea behind the Berlin Wall, and the rest of the history being there where it all happened. After I became to know the city inside out like a resident of Berlin does. But I hadn’t. I read Sektion 20 fourteen days before I left for Europe, for Berlin. It would’ve been wholesomely better and I more connected if I had experienced Berlin and learnt about the history before reading this book. That’s my only regret. But now that I have experienced the wonder of Berlin with its achingly fabulous history, I might reread Sektion 20 to revisit those places I have gone to myself like the TV Tower and Alexanderplatz, parts of the Berlin Wall among other sites.If you enjoy reading historical novels, of Berlin’s Cold War etc. then you will enjoy Sektion 20. It is informative in teaching you about The Cold War itself and the Stasi operations. But besides this, there is a gripping plot with interesting characters, and a society in which you could call a ‘real dystopia’ since it has already occurred (and within the past fifty years too) and not fictionalised. Paul Dowswell portrays the restraints of those citizens of the East Side Wall accurately who has some, like Alex our protagonist and sister Geli as well as Sophie (who becomes Alex’s love interest), with dreams and fantasies of living a restraint-free life in the West and the ability to be their artistic selves, let that side of them flourish and be nurtured—feel wanted, and do whatever they want.A couple of tiny sparrows arrived to pick up the crumbs from their lunch. Alex dropped a morsel of bread and one of them hopped beneath his feet to pick it up.‘Wouldn’t it be great just to take to the sky and fly away,’ said Sophie. ’They can have their breakfast in the West, lunch in the East and supper again in the West. Imagine that.’It seemed such a simple, reasonable thing to do. But Alex could no more hope for that than he could wish to be Sandman and take his dinner on the Moon. He was stuck here on Planet Stasi, overseen by the evil eye of the TV Tower.There’s going to be a lot more wishing at this moment. I wish I had reviewed Sektion 20 earlier and before I scooted off to Europe for that break I so much needed. But with that long period, I forget about the so many good things I loved about Sektion 20 be they the subtle descriptions and things I noticed, or other larger things. Things. See? I’ve forgotten naming them ‘things’. If you were coming here expecting a awesome review, I’m sorry. I feel ashamed knowing I could have talked about more of it since there are only a couple of reviews upon Goodreads.Ugghh… guilt trip. (I blame the jetlag.) But at least I remembered that great slab of a quote, right?And I will just say one thing. I received Sektion 20 spontaneously by the publisher and I didn’t think I would read it and put it aside for the time being. I then went to a Publishers Showcase and saw that Sektion 20 was one of Bloomsbury’s favourite books of 2011. Because of that, I went and picked up Sektion 20 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t realise that it would have been something I was interested in since I love learning about history and more importantly about World Wars II and The Cold War (relevant to Berlin). And I think I wasn’t interested in this book in the first place—although it says the Cold War on it—was that I didn’t want to waste time on reading something I hadn’t heard of before or have not seen around anywhere else. But the lesson of this story is to try it, and try something new and unfamiliar. (Which I mostly do anyway.)Bummer… this was so not a review. But I’ll just call it that.