Peirene title no 24

Dance by the Canal

Kerstin Hensel

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A tragicomic satire from the heart of East Germany. 

Gabriela grows up in the East German town of Leibnitz. Her father is a famous surgeon, her mother a respected society hostess. The girl, however, struggles to fulfil their expectations. She shows no talent as a violinist and, worse, she fails to choose the right friends at school. When her father falls out of favour with the communists, Gabriela drops out of school. Eventually she ends up living beneath a canal bridge. Then the Wall falls. Can Gabriela seize a second chance in the new, united, Germany?


Why Peirene chose to publish this book:

'When I pass homeless women, I look into their faces and wonder: why her and not me? I sense that maybe our differences are not as large as I would like to believe. Dancer by the Canal tells the story of woman who fails to find her place in society – neither in communist GDR nor in the capitalist West. Her refusal to conform to the patriarchal structures of both societies forces her into ever increasing isolation. This book will make you think.' Meike Ziervogel

Translated from the German by Jen Calleja.

East and West Series
120pp, paperback with flaps, £12
Published September 2017
ISBN 978-1-908670-38-0
eISBN 978-1-908670-39-7