This month LitHAUS, our monthly reading series, discusses “All Russians Love Birch Trees”
by Olga Grjasnowa
© Other Press
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 unique gift for seeing the funny side of the even the most tragic situations. With cool irony, 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 particularly bittersweet quality to her adventures.
LitHAUS is a monthly reading series for contemporary German-language literature. Each month’s selection will be accompanied by a talk or discussion around the work and its wider themes. Reading the book is encouraged but not required. Everyone is welcome to join.
We have partnered with Brazos Bookstore, where all LitHAUS books will be available for purchase.