Let us begin.
The main action takes place in 1972. Now the artifacts start making sense, don't they?
But here and there are memories of the past: 50s, 40s, even 30s. Memories of what never happened in our world. Memories of our world, but unheard of in the world of Mark Toma.
Typical flashback, from the Prologue:
Near the post office my tram slowed down. A neon slogan happily shined through the evening dusk: 'With Deutsche Lufthansa - to Munich Olympics!'. Myriads of red and yellow bulbs twinkled right above the slogan forming the shape of jet-propelled Junkers.
Then I moved through fifteen hundred yards of luxury: best hotels, most fashionable shops, brand-new posh cars. And girls, dressed after future summer fashion.
Once again came a memory of things that never happened. Strange year when we didn't go to Lago di Garda and spent the whole summer in a country house. For hours my father was sitting beside the radio - usually not his favorite device.
And sunny September day, when lessons were suddenly canceled. My classmates and I stood on department store roof watching the Germans. Nobody looked for us. And we looked at the troops marching through this luxurious boulevard. Rolling in half-track carriers. To Hell the carriers, they had half-track motorcycles, fantastic machines we'd never seen before! Now we looked and looked... A huge piece of cloth was pouring from the roof right to the pavement. Red cloth with a swastika inside a white circle.
Illustration: Vienna, 1938. © Bundesarchiv. Cropped image, full version here.