Deniz Utlu

Towards Morning - Novel

(German title: Gegen Morgen)
ca. 269 pages
Deniz Utlu
Foto: Deniz Utlu
© Sabine Vogel

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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Turkey (Ayrinti)

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.


»With virtuosity the author juggles with changes in perspective and time, with reality and irreality.« Lerke von Saalfeld, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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

»As in his debut novel […], Deniz Utlu champions solidarity, looking closely, a radical vulnerability. And again he accomplishes impressive images and scenes.« Anja Kümmel, Der Tagesspiegel

»Deniz Utlu’s new novel Towards Morning develops an existential play between life and death, magic and ratio.« Stefan Kister, Stuttgarter Zeitung

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

»In Towards Morning, Deniz Utlu has found such a unique, poetic, soaring yet still world-encompassing sound that one is only too willing to lose oneself in the struggles and dreams of his narrator.« Miriam Zeh, SWR

»A powerful piece of literature.« Andreas Krieger, br.de

»[…] by meticulously describing seemingly unimportant details of observations [Utlu manages to] build up and maintain a subtle psychological tension. He supports this tension very skillfully with interwoven narrative spheres of present and past, as well as cross-fades of real perceptions and imaginations.« Marcus Neuert, Fixpoetry

»The poetry of narration lies in the seemingly sober and realistic style in which nothing needs to be explained as well as in the artful construction that hides behind the thick fabric of present and memory.« Marion Victor, faustkultur.de