Called "an artist of immense stature" by 2015 International Man Booker Prize-winning author Laszlo 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.
"Wolfgang Hilbig is an artist of immense stature" -- Laszlo Krasznahorkai, recipient of the 2015 International Man Booker Prize and author of Satantango and Seiobo There Below "Evokes the luminous prose of W.G. Sebald." -- The New York Times "Out of the ugliness of history and the wasted landscape of his home, he has created stories of disconsolate beauty." -- The Wall Street Journal "[Hilbig writes as] Edgar Allan Poe could have written if he had been born in Communist East Germany." -- Los Angeles Review of Books "Hilbig's prose is vivid and poetic." -- Publishers Weekly
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 Buchner 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 Fuhmann (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.