Meet to discuss works from contemporary German-speaking authors in our Goethe Book Club hosted by Chris Walker. Each selection can be read in its English translation or original German; the discussion will be in English.
Olga Grjasnowa: All Russians Love Birch Trees (2014)
Set in Frankfurt, All Russians Love Birch Trees
follows a young immigrant named Masha. Fluent in five languages and able to get by in several others, Masha lives with her boyfriend, Elias. Her best friends are Muslims struggling to obtain residence permits, and her parents rarely leave the house except to compare gas prices. Masha has nearly completed her studies to become an interpreter, when suddenly Elias is hospitalized after a serious soccer injury and dies, forcing her to question a past that has haunted her for years.
Olga Grjasnowa has a gift for seeing the funny side of even the most tragic situations. Her debut novel tells the story of a headstrong young woman for whom the issue of origin and nationality is immaterial–her Jewish background has taught her she can survive anywhere. Yet Masha isn’t equipped to deal with grief, and this all-too-normal shortcoming gives a bittersweet quality to her adventures.
was born in 1984 in Baku, Azerbaijan, grew up in the Caucasus, and has spent extended periods in Poland, Russia, and Israel. She moved to Germany at the age of twelve and is a graduate of the German institute for Literature/Creative Writing in Leipzig. In 2010 she was awarded the Dramatist Prize of the Wiener Wortstätten for her debut play, Mitfühlende Deutsche
). She is currently studying dance science at the Berlin Free University. All Russians Love Birch Trees
is her first novel.
“Grjasnowa…imbues the narrative with a unique set of circumstances related to national and cultural identity…express[ing] the tumultuousness and indirect trajectories of youth against a world that’s anything but fixed
.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
© Other Press
Event series Goethe Book Club 2020