Der Hals der Giraffe © Goethe-Institut

Thu, 02/15/2018

Goethe-Institut Chicago

150 North Michigan Avenue
Suite 200
Chicago, lL 60601

Judith Schalansky: The Giraffe's Neck

The discussion in English will be moderated by Patrick Fortmann, Professor of Germanic Studies at UIC.

The European Book Club (organized by the Goethe-Institut Chicago and EUNIC Chicago) meets regularly for a book discussion of a bestselling novel in English translation. Guests who would like to attend, should read the book in advance and come prepared to participate in the discussion.

Adaptation is everything. Inge Lohmark is well aware of that; after all, she's been teaching biology for more than thirty years. But nothing will change the fact that her school is going to be closed in four years: In this dwindling town in the eastern German countryside, there are fewer and fewer children. Inge's husband, who was a cattle inseminator before the reunification, is now breeding ostriches. Their daughter, Claudia, emigrated to the United States years ago and has no intention of having children. Everyone is resisting the course of nature that Inge teaches every day in class.
When Inge finds herself experiencing intense feelings for a ninth-grade girl, her biologically determined worldview is shaken. And in increasingly outlandish ways, she tries to save what can no longer be saved.

Judith Schalansky © wikimedia commons Judith Schalansky is a German writer, book designer and publisher. She is the author of four books. Her book Atlas of Remote Islands was the winner of the prize for the most beautiful German book of the year in 2009. In 2012, she won the same prize for The Giraffe’s Neck. Schalansky has degrees in both art history and communication design.

Patrick Fortmann earned his Ph.D. from Harvard and he is Associate Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
He works in the long nineteenth century and is particularly interested in questions of sovereignty, emotion, and the nation.