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.
If you’d like to read a great review of the book here’s a post by roughghosts and his review in The Quarterly Conversation.
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.
The Giveaway is now Closed.
24 thoughts on “German Literature Giveaway – Old Rendering Plant by Wolfgang Hilbig”
This sounds fantastic! I have never heard of this author!
He’s well worth discovering. The imagery is stunning.
I was holding my breath and praying that the giveaway should be applicable for India too… and BAM! 😦 I will add this lovely book to my list, Caroline. 🙂
I know. It’s disappointing but they are such a tiny publisher and the Center is nonprofit. They will be happy about any order. 🙂
I’m not participating in the giveaway (living in Europe) but this sounds extremely interesting! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this in the future. Thank you for letting us know about it, Caroline 🙂
My pleasure. 🙂 It’s too bad you’re in Europe.
Thank you for linking to my review, Caroline. I am a huge Hilbig fan. You might be interested to know that I have an interview with the translator, Isabel Fargo Cole, that will be published at 3:AM Magazine this coming Monday. She has wonderful insight into his writing.
My pleasure. I’m very interested. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll have a look.
Thanks for hosting the giveaway, The book looks and sounds fantastic and seems like it would be a very worthy edition to a home library.
I’m pretty sure this is an author you’d like. I’ll enter you in the giveaway.
I (sort of) like the sounds of this but the abattoir makes me hesitate, so I won’t opt for the drawing.
I see what you mean. I had a feeling it was more about the building as an abandoned site. With its meaning but not graphic. Maybe I’m wrong.
Yes but it says revisiting the building now used as an abattoir so I’m not taking any chances
A wonderful author with a unique voice. Glad that his works are one by one translated in English.
Glad to hear you like him as well. I wonder now why I haven’t picked him up before.
I’ve been meaning to try Hilbig ever since seeing the cover of The Sleep of the Righteous. I’m not sure whether the smoke is appealing or appalling to me. After reading roughghost’s post that you link to, I’m feeling similarly about his other books.
But you’re entering the giveaway? Right?
Yes, please. Sorry I wasn’t clear…
I’m ineligible for the draw, but added this to the wishlist. Sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Caroline.
My pleasure. I’d love to hear what you think of him.
I’ve just read The Sleep of the Righteous for German Literature Month. I haven’t reviewed it yet – he’s not the easiest writer to write about – but I really liked it!
I’m glad to hear that. I only just started but like it very much as well. I can imagine it’s difficult to review it.
Wolfgang Hilbig is a fantastic writer.
I read his ‘ The Sleep of the Righteous ‘ a few years ago during German Literature Month…..very evocative and haunting.
I agree. He’s evocative and haunting. He paints with words.