Dietmar Dath

Saltwhite Eyes - Fourteen Letters on the Drastic and the Lucid

(German title: Die salzweißen Augen)
ca. 215 pages
Dietmar Dath
Foto: Dietmar Dath
© Anita Schiffer-Fuchs
Born in 1970, Dietmar Dath lives in Freiburg and Berlin as a writer and translator.

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»Dear Sonja,« David writes in these enlightening and desperate letters to a revered classmate from days long gone, »looking back isn’t always the best idea: Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.«

Nevertheless, he does look back: long ago, in the »sticky Seventies«, Sonja wanted to know what he found fascinating about Heavy Metal, about zombie and porno movies and horror comic books. Now, in the letters, he goes way back, quotes atrocious things and finds a theoretical definition for the drastic, which is »the culture-industrial shape modern man’s ideal and his feared self-image takes when the social promises of modernity are not fulfilled…« But his explanation is driven by his own story: a broken home, his fixation on Sonja, experiences with drugs, a collapse.

No, love for the drastic is no game, says the author of the letters, and the love for Sonja, to whom he wishes to explain the drastic and the lucid, certainly isn’t either. How do the two belong together? In search of an answer, Dietmar Dath’s bold novelistic essay digs deep into the history of a youth.

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