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3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  73 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
"Challenging, beautifully written "--Library Journal

Hailed by The New Yorker as one of the best young novelists and recipient of Germany’s most prestigious literary awards, Marcel Beyer returns with a brilliantly wrought novel that brings to life both an individual and a whole world: the zoologist Ludwig Kaltenburg, loosely based on Nobel Prize–winner Konrad Lorenz, and hi
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2008)
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Jim Fonseca
Feb 20, 2016 Jim Fonseca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-authors
If you were in college in the social sciences 20 or 30 years ago you heard of what has become known as ethology: the study of animal behavior as it relates to humans. Your “must read pile” started tilting with Robert Ardrey’s On Aggression; Desmond Morris’ – the Naked Ape and King Solomon's Ring, and On Aggression by Konrad Lorenz. This book, Kaltenburg, translated from the German in 2012 (first published 2008) is loosely based on the life of Lorenz, a German animal behavior scholar.

The main cha
Robert Wechsler
Jun 08, 2016 Robert Wechsler rated it really liked it
Shelves: german-lit
This novel is characterized most of all by its eccentricities. The first-person narrator’s coyness about withholding important information and his odd unreliability. The strange relationships between people and birds, which range from befriending and protecting them to skinning them and allowing them to be massacred. The way the novel wanders through (and back and forth between) present and pasts, with the frame of a not quite present conversation with a stranger that goes on for six months, but ...more
Roger Brunyate
Animal Behavior

From the very first pages of this fascinating novel I felt that it had the potential to be something superb, though I gradually came to see that a reader such as I, lacking a German frame of reference, might never fully realize it. Now in his later forties, Marcel Beyer has won just about every German literary prize going; there is clearly a highly refined sensibility at work here, as he juggles scraps of fictionalized biography over a fifty-year span of German history, building a
Jul 22, 2015 M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyer's novel, translated from German to English, echoes the life of Konrad Lorenz. The history of the period and geography are central features of the novel. Translators, including a main character, recur in important roles.

The novel is filled with deliberate contradictions to the point where the reader is left wondering exactly what is true. Does Hermann remember almost nothing of his first wildlife filmstrip or does he recall it in great detail? Does Martin socialize at evening gatherings in
Dec 31, 2013 Lamia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
في كالتنبورغ تترك كل حواسك لـ الطيور تفعل بك ما تشاء
كالتنبورغ أخذتني في سفر في السماء وفي الأرض، بين أغصان الشجر وبين مداخن المنازل، بين الأقفاص وفي المتاحف
كنت أحلق معها ،
ما يخطفي في عالمها أولئك الغرقى في عالمها وكأنهم طيور لا يمتون البشر بـ صلة .. يختطفونك بين منقارهم .. ويدثرونك بين أجنحتهم .. ويخفونك بين أعشاشها ..

هذه الرواية أشبه ما تكون بـ سيرة ذاتية لـ كونراد لورنتس وهو عالم حيوان وطيور وسيولوجية حيوان نمساوي حصل على جائزة نوبل في الطب 1973
في هذه الرواية كونراد لورنتس يمثله عالم الحيو
May 22, 2015 Marty rated it liked it
I feel pretty neutral about this book. Some parts of it were very good and I certainly didn't have trouble getting into it. But the mysteries surrounding the ornithologist Ludwig Kaltenburg were so vague that I couldn't quite keep them all straight. I suppose that was the point, that no on really knows everything about a person they are close to. However, a little bit of clarity about some of the issues that were hinted at would have been appreciated. Eastern Germany under Soviet Rule is pretty ...more
Dec 13, 2012 Gwendolyn rated it liked it
This novel is filled with lovely set pieces about the narrator's childhood and youthful experiences with his mentor, the famous zoologist Ludwig Kaltenberg. After a dramatic experience with a swift trapped in the drawing room, Hermann Funk devotes his life to the study of animals, but he's also a keen student of human nature. His detailed observations and memories of Posen and Dresden are captivating. As other reviewers have noted, this story is told in a non-linear way. It's more like a collage ...more
Dec 15, 2013 Carly rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I think to really appreciate this novel, you'd best have a deep familiarity with the history of East Germany. As much as I enjoyed some of the descriptions -- in particular, the characters' interactions with the zoological specimens -- I never felt that I was understanding what someone more versed in that time period would have understood. I also enjoyed the challenge of following the narrator's imperfect memories, though sometimes this was too much of a challenge and I couldn't remember who was ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me, totally different reading material, it read more like an autobiography/biography. It actually was based loosely on Konrad Lorenz, Nobel Prize winner,a zoolgist, doing research into animal behavior.1940s to late 1960s. I laid it aside, then repeatedly found myself reading bits and pieces, finally started over from the beginning. Ravens, living and stuffed, scientific terminology for the ornithologist, for some reason I enjoyed the growth of the observer,the student. Perhaps, he was the ul ...more
Mar 03, 2016 Bianca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Worstelen om door te lezen tot het einde. Geen aanrader.
A well written, compassionate book about psychology, behaviorism , birds, and life . Highly recommended.
Jul 31, 2008 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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