Heinz Helle

Superabundance - Novel

Literal translation of German title: The Reassuring Sound of Exploding Kerosene
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

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

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg)

»An arresting debut from a major new literary talent« New Books In German


Shortlisted for the Swiss Book Prize 2014



What happens: A philosopher fails in his attempt to make his theory of experience correspond to his actual experiences. A man fails in his attempt to love a woman. Someone succeeds in going to a bar and watching a football match.

What it’s about: It’s about the taste of coffee in the early morning and about the problem of consciousness. It’s about a German student in New York, about a man and a woman. It’s about a child that fails to be born. It’s about love and its disappearance. It’s about the important stuff and the unimportant stuff and the problem of how to tell the difference. It’s about philosophy. And football.

What it’s really about: »Maybe one day they will find out what it is like to be me. Then they will say: we know what consciousness is. They will finally have control over the self. Then I will go to them and say: I mustn’t ever stop loving her, ever. Is that something you can help me with?« Superabundance is a novel about happiness.


»[A] philosophical tour de force ... which aptly showcases Helle's deadpan humour. This is a linguistically daring portrait of an overwhelmed mind.« Financial Times

»Fragmentary prose is welded by a hypnotic voice ... the unnamed narrator of Heinz Helle's debut describes his life in New York with remorseless logic.« Guardian

»Darkly humorous ... Helle shows us the world with a rare clear-sightedness.« Scotland on Sunday

»Beckettian ... excellent ... funny.« Independent

»Heinz Helle’s narrative is superbly crafted so that the writing style precisely reflects the narrator’s degree of psychological distress. By the end of the book, the short, disjointed scenes become almost painful to read, demonstrating an antagonistic relationship between philosophy and life. Although it is an impressively original work, [Superabundance] can be placed in the popular modern tradition of the alienated intellectual adrift in a foreign country, encompassing contemporary American authors like Teju Cole and Greg Baxter.« New Books In German


Heinz Helle reads from his novel Superabundance:

Other publications

Die Überwindung der Schwerkraft/Overcoming Gravity (2018)

Sold to:

Bulgaria (Funtasy), Greece (Gutenberg)

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)