The Goethe Book Club, hosted by Chris Walker, meets once a month to discuss works from contemporary German-speaking authors and explore experiences with the text. Each selection can be read in its English translation or original German; the discussion will be in English. No registration required, simply pick up the book from our Pop Up Library. Copies can also be obtained online via most major retailers in hard copy or digital format.
© Penguin Random House
Ferdinand von Schirach: “The Collini Case” / “Der Fall Collini” (2011)
Fabrizio Collini is recently retired. He’s a quiet, unassuming man with no indications that he’s capable of hurting anyone. And yet he brutally murders a prominent industrialist in one of Berlin’s most exclusive hotels. Collini ends up in the charge of Caspar Leinen, a rookie defense lawyer eager to launch his career with a not-guilty verdict. Complications soon arise when Collini admits to the murder but refuses to give his motive, much less speak to anyone. As Leinen searches for clues he discovers a personal connection to the victim and unearths a terrible truth at the heart of Germany’s legal system that stretches back to World War II. But how much is he willing to sacrifice to expose the truth?
His first novel, Ferdinand von Schirach's The Collini Case
describes the shockingly mild way in which German post-war justice dealt with the Nazi perpetrators. Following its publication, an independent commission set up by the German Federal Minister of Justice to deal with aspects of Germany's Nazi past used the novel for reference, among other things. In some German states, The Collini Case
has become school reading.
Photo: Michael Mann © Ferdinand von Schirach
Ferdinand von Schirach
was born in Munich in 1964. Since 1994, he has worked as a lawyer in Berlin. Among his clients have been former Politbüro member Günter Schabowski, the former East German spy Norbert Juretzko, and members of the criminal underworld.
“A magnificent storyteller” – Der Spiegel
“A miracle of purpose and precision that leaves most bloated thrillers on the starting blocks.” – Financial Times