Marzahn, mon amour

Stories of a Chiropodist

Katja Oskamp is in her mid-forties when her life grows dull. Her child has left home, her husband is ill, and her writing, which was her all up till then, is only a source of disappointment. She does something that would amount to failure for others: she becomes a chiropodist. And starts to record what she hears in stories full of humanity and wit.

Berlin-Marzahn was once the largest prefabricated housing estate in the GDR. Here lives Mr. Paulke, one of the first residents forty years ago; Mrs. Guse, who is slowly retreating backwards from the world; and Mr. Pietsch, the former bureaucrat with his checked flat cap. They are all heading towards old age and need patching up – and their regular appointments to have nails cut and corns removed are, above all, an opportunity to talk. Katja Oskamp listens and creates miraculous stories about people, seen from the perspective of their feet. These are the kind of stories you don’t hear when people talk about each other in this country. Yet they happen everywhere.