Header

Heinz Helle

Overcoming Gravity - Novel

(German title: Die Überwindung der Schwerkraft)
ca. 208 pages
Clothbound
2018
Heinz Helle
Foto: Heinz Helle
© Max Zerrahn

Heinz Helle was born in 1978. He studied philosophy in Munich and New York. He has worked as copywriter for advertising agencies, and is a graduate of the Swiss Literature Institute in Biel. He lives in Zürich.

Sold to

Greece (Gutenberg)

About

A couple of beers, and then a couple more – that’s all it takes for a sense of closeness. Yet the two brothers know that the warmth of the alcohol is not really a match for the cold outside as they go from pub to pub. The older brother has long been one to cradle a drink with no special occasion required, simply saddened or furious at a world governed by pain and suffering, wars and violence.

That evening however he talks to his younger brother not only about Stalingrad and Marc Dutroux, he also tells him that he is soon to become a father. What neither of them know is that this is the last time they will see each other. They talk on the phone once. The next call, nine months later, brings the news of the older brother’s death. What he leaves behind are memories and questions: What is it all about? What is it we are looking for in the world? What is the meaning of it all, this living and dying?

With virtuosic skill, Heinz Helle interweaves the quest for traces of the dead brother with the quest for answers to the major questions of life. The precision with which he dissects the brothers’ personalities is painfully beautiful: a carefully aimed punch in the stomach, shot through with solace and hope.

Praise

»Heinz Helle has written one of the most beautiful books about brothers in recent German literature.« Paul Jandl, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»Overcoming Gravity is a literary work that shines light on the depths of human existence.« Martina Läubli, NZZ am Sonntag

»With Overcoming Gravity Heinz Helle has successfully managed to write a novel of great emotional impact.« Der Tagesspiegel

»In terms of time, themes and narrative point of view ... Helle’s book of memory is a rollercoaster ... that the reader does not in the process lose their perspective is a testament to Helle’s great narrative artistry and power of compression.« Die literarische Welt

»In terms of time, themes and narrative point of view ... Helle’s book of memory is a rollercoaster ... that the reader does not in the process lose their perspective is a testament to Helle’s great narrative artistry and power of compression.« Die literarische Welt

»With a glass-clear but poetic voice Helle touches upon the existential.« FOCUS Online

»A great philosophical excursion. It revives a genre in a beautiful way: the brother novel.« SWR

»Overcoming Gravity is written in long, elaborately constructed sentences that one quickly learns to trust.« taz. die tageszeitung

»In jaggedly sharp prose this author writes about existence in all of its great uncertainty.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

» … a wonderful novel which moves through the depths of a multifaceted brother-relationship with ease.« Poesierausch.com

»Profound and extremely unsettling with a powerful message for our increasingly hate-filled times.« John Harding, Daily Mail about Euphoria (Eigentlich müssten wir tanzen)

»Makes The Road seem like a Disney cartoon by comparison. Helle is an astute predictor of human nature, and part of the reason this book is so haunting is because his characters all react to their constantly-deteriorating circumstances in entirely believable though by no means predictable ways. Euphoria may not take long to read, but it will certainly take a long time to forget.« Roger Cox, Scotsman about Euphoria (Eigentlich müssten wir tanzen)

»[A] philosophical tour de force which aptly showcases Helle's deadpan humour. This is a linguistically daring portrait of an overwhelmed mind.« Financial Times about Superabundance (Der beruhigende Klang von explodierendem Kerosin)

»Beckettian, excellent, funny.« Independent about Superabundance (Der beruhigende Klang von explodierendem Kerosin)

Media

Heinz Helle reads from Overcoming Gravity

Other publications

Eigentlich müssten wir tanzen/Euphoria (2015)

Sold to:

English world rights (Serpent's Tail), Chinese simplex rights (People's Literature Publishing House), Arabic world rights (Al Kotob Khan), France (Piranha)

Der beruhigende Klang von explodierendem Kerosin/Superabundance (2014)

Sold to:

English world rights (Serpent's Tail), Russia (Text), Bulgaria (Funtasy), Turkey (Kafka Yayinevi)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg)