German poet Kampmann touchingly and intimately illustrates the fallout of capitalism’s dependence on oil. The true tragedy here is that Waclaw’s story is not unique. His plight is a perfect vehicle for Kampmann’s lyrical descriptions, which reach from dusty Moroccan cities to the brass-colored balustrades in a Budapest hotel. At times Waclaw’s ennui threatens to slow the pace to a crawl. Nevertheless, this is a haunting exploration of the devastating costs all kinds of gig workers have to bear to feed themselves and the belly of the beast.
Award-winning German author Kampmann is a poet, and this first foray into fiction is a poet’s novel in the richness of its imagery and the exquisiteness of the language. It’s as if the protagonist were a modern Odysseus returning to a home he no longer has.
... quiet but powerful ... This is a highly interior novel, with Kampmann laser-focused on Waclaw’s grief, which is portrayed with compassion and honesty ... Kampmann’s characters are memorable; her dialogue spare but realistic. Her prose, ably translated by Posten, isn’t showy, but it’s quite pretty and, at times, gorgeous. It can be a difficult novel to read with its insistent quietness and emotional heaviness, but readers who prefer their fiction reflective and not plot-heavy will likely find much to admire in its pages. It’s a thoughtful, unsparing look at loss ... A promising fiction debut with understated but beautiful writing.