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.
A startling, inventive novel by one of Germany's most original young authors
"Remarkable" is too small a word. It is very funny, desperately sad and real, and ultimately, shocking Eileen Battersby, Irish Times An unusual, distinctive novel that informs as well as entertains Independent A beautiful novel spotted with wondrous sketches New Statesman A relentless and darkly humorous internal monologue that links ideas in evolutionary biology and genetics to socialist and capitalist notions of progress New Yorker A subtle, understated book, tension, emotion and dark humour bubbling under the surface, with a melancholic air of retrospection Big Issue
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 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. She lives in Berlin. Shaun Whiteside is a translator from German, French, Italian and Dutch. His translations from German include novels by Bernhard Schlink, Pascal Mercier, Zoran Drvenkar and Marlen Haushofer, as well as works by Freud, Nietzsche, Musil and Schnitzler. His translation of Lilian Faschinger's Magdalena the Sinner won the 1996 Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize. He lives in London with his wife and son.