Goethe Book Club Goethe Book Club: The Field, by Robert Seethaler (2018; tr. 2021)

The Field © Pan Macmillan The Field © Pan Macmillan

Tue, 12/07/2021

6:30 PM Eastern

Hybrid: Goethe-Institut Washington & Online

2021 translation by Charlotte Collins

Read and discuss works by contemporary German authors in this series hosted by the Goethe-Institut. All books can be read in recent English translation or in the German original; our discussion will be in English. Led by local German professor Amanda Sheffer (The Catholic University of America), this book club focuses on contemporary fiction and translations, and will explore experiences and thoughts about the text.

In cooperation with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the Catholic University of America.

Please Note: In order to participate in the online discussion (carried out over Zoom), registrants must obtain access to the novel on their own. Hard copies of the novel can be ordered through multiple vendors online; the eBook is also available for download to Kindle, iPad, and other digital reading platforms.


The Field (Das Feld) by Robert Seethaler (2018, translated by Charlotte Collins in 2021)

If the dead could speak, what would they say to the living?

From their graves in the field, the oldest part of Paulstadt’s cemetery, the town’s late inhabitants tell stories from their lives. Some recall just a moment, perhaps the one in which they left this world, perhaps the one that they now realize shaped their life forever. Some remember all the people they’ve been with, or the only person they ever loved.

These voices together – young, old, rich poor – build a picture of a community, as viewed from below ground instead of from above. The streets of the small, sleepy provincial town of Paulstadt are given shape and meaning by those who lived, loved, worked, mourned and died there.

From the author of the Booker International-shortlisted A Whole Life, Robert Seethaler’s The Field is about what happens at the end. It is a book of human lives – each one different, yet connected to countless others – that ultimately shows how life, for all its fleetingness, still has meaning..
RSVP Robert Seethaler was born in Vienna in 1966 and is the author of several novels including A Whole Life and The TobacconistA Whole Life was a top ten-bestseller in Germany, and has garnered huge acclaim.

Charlotte Collins studied English at Cambridge University. She worked as an actor and radio journalist in both Germany and the U.K. before becoming a literary translator. She has translated work by Robert Seethaler and Nino Haratischwili.


Discussion of Seethaler's novel will take place in hybrid form via Zoom and at the Goethe-Institut Washington on Tuesday, December 7, at 6:30pm Eastern. Please RSVP via Eventbrite in order to receive discussion prompts and the Zoom invite link.

Discussion prompts from moderator Amanda Sheffer will be emailed to all participants RSVP'd via Eventbrite in advance of the discussion. The Zoom invite and additional directions/tips for accessing the Zoom discussion will be emailed to all participants no less than 48 hours before the discussion begins. The discussion will take place in English.