Review of The Sleep of the Righteous by Wolfgang Hilbig

My third Hilbig novel in quick succession.

Whereas his others were solid blocks of interior narration, this one perfectly captures an elegiac wonderment characteristic of childhood’s hurtle through strata of growth, confusion, and sadness.
The author summons reality with abundance through the distorted mirror of his character’s psyche. He is a master at conjuring the fear and trembling of the past, the smoggy, mud-caked byways of German economic decline. The introduction by László Krasznahorkai only cemented my intuition that Hilbig was a better, more efficient and readable version of L. K. An author I could reread, who does not simply relish empty blathering sentences, strung like overcooked spaghetti over an inhuman, mathematical premise.
Hilbig was startlingly in touch with human instinct, pain, and joy, and offered us the precise observations of a humanist who processed his share of darkness.
As in The Females, the grit of the factory will enter your eyes, and no matter how irritated you get at the accumulation of minute details, the pathological exploration will draw you deeper into the eerie confines of Hilbig’s vision. The polish upon the filth is Tarkovskian. The colors pop and the grayscale contains so many affecting shades of light and shadow, layered, grainy, ghostly and obscurant. How fascinating, his palpitating nightmares become, as murderers and madmen weave through steam-spitting pipes lit against a coal-blackened sky.

It is a foregone conclusion that I will read every book by the author available in English.

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