Nominated by:

Zentral- u. Landesbibliothek Berlin, Germany

Publisher of nominated edition:

Published by Bloomsbury UK and USA

The Giraffe’s Neck

Judith Schalansky      

Translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside

2016 Longlist

Adaption is everything, something Frau Lohmark is well aware of as the biology teacher at the Charles Darwin High School in a country backwater of the former East Germany.

A strict devotee of Darwin’s evolution principle, Lohmark views education as survival of the fittest: classifying her pupils as biological specimens and scorning her colleagues for indulging in ‘favourites’. However, as people move West in search of work and opportunities, the school’s future is in jeopardy and the Lohmark is forced to face her most fundamental lesson: she must adapt or she cannot survive.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Judith Schalansky was born in 1980 in Greifswald in the former East Germany. She studied art history and communication design and works as a freelance writer in Berlin. Schalansky’s previous – non-fiction – book Atlas of Remote Islands won the Stiftung Buchkunst (Book Art Foundation) award for ‘the most beautiful book of the year’ and was published to acclaim in the UK and the USA in 2010. The Giraffe’s Neck is her first novel to be published in English, and has been longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015. She lives in Berlin.

Librarian’s Comments

Judith Schalansky tells the psychological profile of an East German biology teacher in her fifties, which exhausts herself in dealing with school colleagues and pupils. Schalansky describes how the view of her hero’s world gets mixed up. At the same time, she tells in an elegant and virtuous style the crisis history of a region that goes through a change.

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