In a powerful response to a growing crisis, Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel explores questions about race, immigration, refugees and European identity. Translated by Susan Bernofsky.
Newly retired Richard spends his days cooking, pottering in his garden and walking around his home city of Berlin. Following an excursion to Alexanderplatz, he befriends a group of African men whose camp is being pulled down by the authorities. These asylum seekers have found their way to Berlin from all over Africa by way of Libya and then Italy. They have no ‘right’ to be in Berlin, and they must follow the rules if they have any hope in being allowed to remain.