What we are made of

What we are made of by Thomas Hettche

Even at the beginning I felt something familiar: a German writer Niklas Kalf was visiting New York for his newly published biography of a Jewish-German physicist named Eugen Meerkaz, who emigrated to the USA in the late 1930s. But one morning when he woke up he found his pregnant wife Liz, mysteriously disappeared without a trace. So what happened to her? Surely a lot of you would remember this similar scene. Yes, that’s right; it was like the films of David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino.

However I felt the pace was rather slow and the context was dry although the book was shortlisted for German Booker Prize. When Kalf tried in vein and in pain to find answers he came to a very remote town, Marfa. He waited there for months and slept with other woman while his kidnapped wife was somewhere alive or dead that was unknown.

It is a thriller fiction and it is intense. Only after the half of the book is turned on, one could gradually make sense of the whole event of kidnapping.

What we are made of? Kalf asks again and again, and yet it is a question that the author asks. The language of this book is quite philosophical as well as religious.

With post September 11 and George W Bush’s strategies to invade Iraq as the historical context to this book, the author conveys somehow very significant message about war with its consequence that has been continuously haunting human beings ever since.