Goethe Book Club Goethe Book Club: Juli Zeh’s The Method (2012)

Juli Zeh - The Method © Vintage Juli Zeh - The Method © Vintage

Mon, 09/24/2018

Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K St. NW (Entrance on 20th St., lower level)
Washington, DC 20006

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 will explore experiences and thoughts about the text.

Corpus Delicti: Ein Prozess (The Method) by Juli Zeh

Young, attractive, talented and independent: that describes Mia Holl, a 30-year old woman who must answer before the court of law. She stands accused of loving (her brother) too much, having too much on her mind (she thinks scientifically) and having too much independent thought. In a society, in which concerns for the body have superseded freedom of thought, her inner nature has classified her a “dangerous subject.” Mia Holl wants to prove that her brother, who was sentenced due to an alleged rape, is innocent. So she stands up against the system, called the “Method”, inspired by the love for her brother, who took his own life.

In The Method, Juli Zeh creates the thrilling Science Fiction-scenario of a 21st century health dictatorship. She details a system that controls everyone and everything. Health has become the highest duty of each citizen. The “Method” requires a set exercise routine in addition to a sleep and nutrition report. Literally every step each citizen takes is reported to the state. The Method deals with increasingly topical debates: how far can and will the state limit individual rights? Does the individual have the right to resist? Juli Zeh’s The Method is a visionary and enormously exciting book about our future – and our present.

Juli Zeh was born in Bonn and studied law in Passau and Leipzig, where she took her first state exams in 1998. She also studied in Leipzig from 1996 to 2000 at the German Literature Institute, to which she later returned as a lecturer. After her graduation from the German Literature Institute, she took her second state exams in 2003. Her literary work has been influenced by her numerous residencies abroad, such as, for example, working for the UN in New York, Krackow, and, most notably, Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Juli Zeh has received many honors for her work, including the German Book Prize, the Rauriser Literature Prize, the Hölderlin Prize, the Ernst Roller Prize, and the Solothurner Literature Prize. In 2001 she published her first novel, Eagles and Angles, and in 2006, her novel Gaming Instinct was performed on stage at the Hamburg Schauspielhaus. In The Full Monty she collected her essays on society, politics, law, and literature, which had appeared in major German publications. Dark Matter came out in 2007, and in 2009, The Method. In 2010, Zeh received her doctorate in law from the University of Saarbrücken. In her dissertation, Transitional Law, she focused on the legislative work of administrations following the models of UNMIK in Kosovo and OHR in Bosnia- Herzegovina. Her works have been translated into 35 languages. Together with Ilija Trojanow she wrote Attack on Freedom, which came out in 2009 with Hanser. In her recent Körber edition, she published a non-fiction work Dictature of the Democrats – Why without Rights No State Can Be Made and her new novel Decompression is published by Schöffling & Co.

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