Dietmar Dath

The Abolition of Species - Novel

(German title: Die Abschaffung der Arten)
ca. 552 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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English world rights (Seagull), Serbia (VBZ), Turkey (Is Kültür)


The age we know has long since passed away. Three labyrinthine cities – sprawling conurbations that seemingly grew up without being built – now sprawl where Europe used to be. The world belongs to animals, or rather what has become of today’s animals – the highly intelligent »Gente«.

Fishes conduct a debate over sodomy, hawk-headed female theologians sift through archives in search of documents of humankind in the three-city state ruled over by the lion Cyrus Golden. When the new order is threatened by a superior opponent, the lion dispatches Dimitri the wolf on a diplomatic mission to seek an ally in former North America. In the course of his nocturnal transatlantic journey leading deep into the tracts of natural history, the wolf learns some risky lessons about war, art and politics. Finding himself at the edge of his world, he finally realises »why what happened to humankind happened in the first place«. But the tale of Dmitri’s journey is just the first plane of this novel. In four movements – headed allegro moderato, scherzo, adagio, and finale – The Abolition of Species tells us what our world will look like in five hundred years’ time, and what developments can be expected in the ensuing millennia. Dmitri fails to accomplish his mission, and ultimately it is love that makes him assassinate his one-time leader. The death of the Lion represents the end of the age of the Gente, and the Keramikans seize power. The inferior human species begins to regain strength, but a group descended from the Gente hatches plots to resist the new order. A central role is played by Feuer, a descendant of Dmitri. At the end of the novel, the world is on the brink of downfall – and simultaneous renewal in the form of the couple Feuer and Padmasambhava, who usher in lives of a kind »that had never existed before«.


»Even though a wider public is now familiar with literary amok-runner Dietmar Dath, the label of ›subcultural pop literature‹ still sticks. It should be pointed out that Dietmar Dath is not only one of our most versatile authors but also one of the most formally accomplished. The more recent works especially testify to his linguistic precision and narrative elegance.« FAZ