Deniz Utlu

Towards Morning - Novel

(German title: Gegen Morgen)
ca. 269 pages
Deniz Utlu
Foto: Deniz Utlu
© Heike Steinweg

Deniz Utlu, born in Hannover in 1983, studied Economics in Berlin and Paris. From 2003 to 2014 he was the publisher of freitext, a magazine on culture and society. His debut novel Die Ungehaltenen (The Indignant) was published in 2014 and was adapted for the stage at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin in 2015. From 2017 to 2019 he wrote the column Einträge ins Logbuch (Entries to the Logbook) for the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. In addition, he is the author of plays, poetry and essays (for newspapers such as FAZ, SZ, Tagesspiegel und Der Freitag). He conducts research at the German Institute for Human Rights and is the organiser of a series of readings entitled Prosa der Verhältnisse at the Maxim Gorki Theatre.

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What is the cost of life?


When Kara flies from Berlin to Frankfurt, the plane gets caught up in a heavy thunderstorm. In face of the looming crash, he suddenly sees Ramón sitting a few rows in front of him. Ramón, who was never invited but still came, who stayed on the couch in Kara’s and Kara’s best friend Vince’s kitchen until he disappeared from one day to the next.

After the emergency landing, Kara restlessly returns to Berlin where he sets out on the search for Ramón and therefore on retraces his own past. He finds the long-lost friend in an estate of prefabricated houses and offers him to move into Vince’s former room. That’s where Ramón is paid a visit by some strangers one night. Shortly after that he disappears again. Kara realises that Ramón is gone for good when he follows him to Paris but finds nothing but a city in turmoil.

In Towards Morning, Deniz Utlu presents a profound shock and asks what defines us: that which we have left behind or that which lies ahead of us. In shimmering images he traces the mistakes and the potentials of a life as well as humanity, which starts at the point where we don’t pay attention to ourselves but to others.


»An author we are going to hear more of in the coming years.« Jan Ehlert, NDR

» [...] of hightest dramaturgic elegance.« Petra Kohse, Frankfurter Rundschau