Longlisted for the German Book Prize 2011
»There was no having your say with Inge Lohmark. No one had a choice. It was selective breeding or nothing.«
Three days in the life of a biology teacher – the last of her kind, a relic of the former GDR. This dry-humoured story is set in one of the most absurd places in the world: a school.
Adaptation is everything. Inge Lohmark is well aware of that; after all, she has been teaching biology for more than thirty years. Nothing will change the fact that her school is going to be closed in four years – in the dwindling town in the Eastern German countryside, there are fewer and fewer children. Lohmark’s husband, who was a cattle inseminator during the GDR era, is now breeding ostriches. Their daughter Claudia emigrated to the USA years ago and has no intention of having children. Everyone resists the course of nature that Inge Lohmark teaches every day in her classes. When she finds herself having feelings for a girl in the 9th grade that go beyond the love-hate relationship between students and teachers, her biologically determined world view becomes shaky. In increasingly outlandish ways, she tries to save what can no longer be saved.
Judith Schalansky’s promising new novel The Giraffe’s Neck, which follows her highly acclaimed Atlas der abgelegenen Inseln (The Atlas of Remote Islands), portrays a biology teacher fighting to adhere to the laws of nature. Straining her neck while trying to eat the forbidden fruit, the protagonist eventually ends up losing faith in her personal God Darwin.