Today I have a special treat for fans of W.G Sebald, László Krasznahorkai, and the movies of Andrei Tarkovsky. Two Lines Press, a program of the Center for the Art of Translation, is generously sponsoring a giveaway of two copies of Wolfgang Hilbig’s Old Rendering Plant.
Hilbig was born in East Germany but emigrated to West Germany in 1985. He received all of Germany’s major literary prizes.
I was familiar with his name but had never picked up any of his books. As soon as I was contacted by Two Lines Press, I browsed a few of his books and was stunned. The imagery reminded me so much of a Tarkovsky movie. And Tarkovsky is one of my favourite film directors. Abandoned houses, desolate landscapes, solitary people. I was captivated.
Here’s what you can find on the website of the Center for the Art of Translation:
“[Wolfgang Hilbig] evokes the luminous prose of W. G. Sebald.” — The New York Times
What falsehoods do we believe as children? And what happens when we realize they are lies—possibly heinous ones? In Old Rendering Plant Wolfgang Hilbig turns his febrile, hypnotic prose to the intersection of identity, language, and history’s darkest chapters, immersing readers in the odors and oozings of a butchery that has for years dumped biological waste into a river. It starts when a young boy becomes obsessed with an empty and decayed coal plant, coming to believe that it is tied to mysterious disappearances throughout the countryside. But as a young man, with the building now turned into an abattoir processing dead animals, he revisits this place and his memories of it, realizing just how much he has missed. Plumbing memory’s mysteries while evoking historic horrors, Hilbig 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, menacing tale refracts the lost innocence of youth through the heavy burdens of maturity.PRAISE
“Wolfgang Hilbig is an artist of immense stature.” — László Krasznahorkai, winner of the Man Booker International Prize and author of Satantango and Seiobo There Below
“Out of the ugliness of history and the wasted landscape of his home, he has created stories of disconsolate beauty.” — The Wall Street Journal
“Beneath Hilbig’s layers of imagistic prose, deep inside the tormented psyche of his narrator, a historical beast waits to be roused.” — Electric Literature“
“[Hilbig writes as] Edgar Allan Poe could have written if he had been born in Communist East Germany.” — Los Angeles Review of Books
The giveaway is US/Canada only. The winners will be announced on Wednesday November 22 2017, around 18:00 Central European time.