Description: A tale of love, betrayal and redemption in the dying days of the Cold War. Set in Germany both in the years before the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as post-unification, and encompassing the excesses of life in 1980’s Britain.
Bob McPherson is Scottish and unemployed. He lost his highly-paid job in the City because of his alcoholism. His counsellor at the Alcohol Advisory Service suggests he look back to a pivotal point in his life – Leipzig in the 1980s, when the GDR held its citizens in an iron grip.
Naive, and innocent of the machinations of the East German state, Bob embraces life as a PhD student at Leipzig University. There he falls in love with Magda Reinsch, a student with secret plans to escape to the West.
As their love affair deepens, Magda and Bob are drawn into a web of deception and betrayal. In a country where the Stasi is always watching, no-one is quite who they seem and everyone has their price.
Bob leaves the GDR thinking he is responsible for a man’s death and that he lost Magda because of it. Now, in revisiting the past, Bob may be able to uncover the truth of his Leipzig Affair.
Fiona Rintoul is a financial journalist and translator. The Leipzig Affair is her first novel, and won the 2013 Virginia prize for the best new fiction by a woman writing in English.
Readers: Douglas Henshall and Indira Varma
Abridger: Jeremy Osborne
Producer: Rosalynd Ward
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.
1/10 Magda trains to be an interpretator, as a way to escape East Germany
Episode 2: Magda’s plan to escape to the West suffers a major setback. Meanwhile, Bob is inspired to leave his Scottish university and study in Leipzig.
Episode 3: Magda meets her boyfriend Marek and tells him the bad news about her escape plan. Bob crosses the border into East Germany and arrives in Leipzig.
Episode 4: Bob meets Magda for the first time and is smitten with her. But Magda and Marek already have plans for him that they must keep secret.
Episode 5: Bob’s dislike of Marek grows. Meanwhile, Magda and Marek make new plans for her to escape East Germany.
Episode 6: Bob uncovers more of Magda’s past but she is still keeping secrets from him and life in the GDR is getting dangerous for them all.
Episode 7: Magda and Bob are each picked up by the Stasi who seem to know everything about them. Bob makes a decision he will regret.
Episode 8: Magda’s interrogation by the Stasi continues. Back in Scotland, Bob is forced to put Leipzig behind him and move on with his life.
Episode 9: Magda’s life in East Germany changes unexpectedly. Bob is forced to confront his alcoholism and then to reassess the events in Leipzig.
Episode 10: Bob returns to Leipzig and uncovers some shocking revelations. Magda has some surprising news of her own.