Old Rendering Plant (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

A highly evocative and poetic novella that speaks to the burdens of history. In sinuous and lyrical prose, an unnamed narrator reflects on the woods outside the small German town where he grew up, later focusing on an old rendering plant. I'll admit it, this book has almost no plot and yet it's my favorite book of the year because it's so beautifully written, so transportive. It begs to be read aloud.I lost myself inside this book, in its ineffable sense of nature and the dense, unsettling prose. A small universe sits within its one hundred brief pages.​

— From Mark recommends...


What falsehoods do we believe as children? And what happens when we realize they are lies--possibly heinous ones? In Old Rendering Plant Wolfgang Hilbig turns his febrile, hypnotic prose to the intersection of identity, language, and history's darkest chapters, immersing readers in the odors and oozings of a butchery that has for years dumped biological waste into a river. It starts when a young boy becomes obsessed with an empty and decayed coal plant, coming to believe that it is tied to mysterious disappearances throughout the countryside. But as a young man, with the building now turned into an abattoir processing dead animals, he revisits this place and his memories of it, realizing just how much he has missed. Plumbing memory's mysteries while evoking historic horrors, Hilbig gives us a gothic testament for the silenced and the speechless. With a tone indebted to Poe and a syntax descended from Joyce, this suggestive, menacing tale refracts the lost innocence of youth through the heavy burdens of maturity.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781931883672
ISBN-10: 193188367X
Publisher: Two Lines Press
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Pages: 120
Language: English