Two Lines Press
All Books >
Additional Information
ISBN: 978-1931883726
Pages: 112
Size: 4 1/2 x 7
Publication Date: June 6, 2018
Distributed By: Publishers Group West

Tidings of the Trees

by Wolfgang Hilbig
Translated from German by
Isabel Fargo Cole

“Out of the ugliness of history and the wasted landscape of his home, he has created stories of disconsolate beauty.” — the Wall Street Journal

Where once was a beautiful wood now stands a desolate field smothered in ash and garbage, and here a young man named Waller has terrorizing encounters with grotesque figures named “the garbagemen.” As Waller becomes fascinated with these desperate men who eke out a survival by rooting through their nation’s waste, he imagines they are also digging through its past as their government erases its history and walls itself off from the outside world.

One of celebrated German author Wolfgang Hilbig’s most accessible and resonant works, The Tidings of the Trees is about the politics that rip us apart, the stories we tell for survival, and the absolute importance of words to nations and people. Featuring some of Hilbig’s most striking, poetic, and powerful images, this flawless novella perfectly balances politics and literature.


“The Hölderlin of open-pit mining.” — the Times Literary Supplement

“Hilbig’s was among the most significant prose and poetry written not just in the GDR but in all of postwar Germany—East or West.” — Joshua Cohen, author of Book of Numbers

“­Evokes the luminous prose of W.G. Sebald.” — The New York Times

“[Hilbig writes as] Edgar Allan Poe could have written if he had been born in Communist East Germany.” — Los Angeles Review of Books

“Wolfgang Hilbig is an artist of immense stature.” — László Krasznahorkai, author of Satantango and Seiobo There Below

“[Hilbig] could very well be the writer for our time.” — Boston Review

“Whenever I read Hilbig’s books . . . I am profoundly shaken. This language practically slices me open.” — Clemens Meyer, author of Bricks and Mortar

“Hilbig’s prose is vivid and poetic, and a Kafkaesque touch gives these stories ample atmosphere.” — 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 to the West. The author of more than twenty 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’s translations include The Sleep of the Righteous, by Wolfgang Hilbig (Two Lines Press); Boys and Murderers by Hermann Ungar (Twisted Spoon Press, 2006); All the Roads Are Open by Annemarie Schwarzenbach (Seagull Books, 2011); and The Jew Car by Franz Fühmann (Seagull Books, 2013).