The Tidings of the Trees by Wolfgang Hilbig

The Tidings of the Trees

Wolfgang Hilbig

A writer in East Germany has stalled after his first sentence. He goes out into the woods around his town seeking some kind of inspiration. The decaying forest and its inhabitants, the Garbagemen, are a metaphor for the collapse of his country. Nothing happens and yet his life changes. It is a nightmare image of a failed state, delivered in an extraordinary, poetic voice.

Extract

I'd have to tell how I searched for them even while they existed in reality ... later, long after I knew of their disappearance, I searched for them still. Reality, in nearly every instance, I thought, has been debased to a worthless product of language.

Parallels
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • How I became a North Korean by Krys Lee
  • The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam