Tidings of the Trees
“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