Chunjie Zhang, along with Julie K. Allen and Sabine Zimmermann, recently participated in a discussion for for EuropeNow. German author Jenny Erpenbeck’s prize-winning, best-selling 2015 novel Gehen, ging, gegangen (Go, Went, Gone, translated by Susan Bernofsky, 2017) featured prominently in several panels at the Conference of the Council for European Studies held in Madrid, Spain in June 2019. Inspired by an actual hunger strike conducted by African asylum seekers in Berlin in 2012, and published just as the Syrian refugee wave peaked in 2015, Erpenbeck’s novel centers on Richard, a recently retired Classics professor in Berlin, who befriends a group of African men trying to get the Berlin Senate to consider their applications for asylum and becomes gradually aware of the many challenges they face in trying to start their lives over in Europe. The presenters who spoke on the novel at the conference discussed their respective interpretations of the novel and its relevance to the topic of forced migration.
Read the full conversation here.