Synopses & Reviews
Called "an artist of immense stature" by 2015 International Man Booker Prize–winning author László Krasznahorkai, and placed alongside W.G. Sebald by The New York Times, Wolfgang Hilbig is a master of using obsessive, hypnotic prose to explore the intersections of identity, consciousness, our frail bodies, and history’s darkest chapters. Now Two Lines Press presents one of his bleakest and most powerful works. One day, a boy follows the odors, oozings, and grime of a polluted creek to the rendering plant that has spewed animal refuse into it for years. He becomes obsessed with the poor creatures that are being made into soap, and in his paranoia he comes to believe that this abattoir is somehow connected to the mysterious disappearances occurring throughout the countryside. Peeling back layers of the mind, while evoking historic horrors, Hilbig here gives us a gothic testament for the silenced and the speechless. With a tone worthy of Poe and a syntax descended from Joyce, this suggestive, ambiguous, and menacing tale explores the intersection of language and history as only Hilbig can.
"Hilbig’s prose is vivid and poetic." Publishers Weekly
“[Hilbig writes as] Edgar Allan Poe could have written if he had been born in Communist East Germany.” Los Angeles Review of Books
"Out of the ugliness of history and the wasted landscape of his home, he has created stories of disconsolate beauty." The Wall Street Journal
"Wolfgang Hilbig is an artist of immense stature" László Krasznahorkai, recipient of the 2015 International Man Booker Prize and author of Satantango and Seiobo There Below
Wolfgang Hilbig has been recognized as "an artist of immense stature," by the 2015 International Man Booker Prize-winning author Laszlo Krasznahorkai. The New York Times has praised him as "evok ing] the luminous prose of W.G. Sebald." Now Two Lines Press presents one of Hilbig's darkest and most disturbing titles. One day a boy follows a terribly polluted creek to the rendering plant that has been dumping refuse into it for years. There he becomes obsessed with the animals that are being made into soap, and he begins to believe that this plant is somehow connected to the disappearances that are occurring throughout the countryside. Hilbig's nightmarish landscape peels back layers of the past, often evoking memories of the Holocaust, making for a suggestive, ambiguous, and gripping story, all told in Hilbig's hypnotic, obsessive prose.
About the Author
Wolfgang Hilbig (1941–2007) was one of the major German writers to emerge in the postwar era. Though raised in East Germany, he proved so troublesome to the authorities that in 1985 he was granted permission to emigrate west. The author of over 20 books, he received virtually all of Germany’s major literary prizes, capped by the 2002 Georg Büchner Prize, Germany’s highest literary honor.
Isabel Fargo Cole is a U.S.-born, Berlin-based writer and translator. Her translations include Boys and Murderers by Hermann Ungar (Twisted Spoon Press, 2006), All the Roads Are Open by Annemarie Schwarzenbach (Seagull Books, 2011), The Jew Car by Franz Fühmann (Seagull Books, 2013), and The Sleep of the Righteous by Wolfgang Hilbig. The recipient of a prestigious PEN/Heim Translation Grant in 2013, she is the initiator and co-editor of No-mans-land.org, an online magazine for new German literature in English.