High as the Waters Rise (Hardcover)
Catapult, 9781948226523, 320pp.
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
German poet Anja Kampmann's award-winning debut novel is the dazzling, heart-rending story of an oil rig worker whose closest friend goes missing, plunging him into isolation and forcing him to confront his past
One night aboard an oil drilling platform in the Atlantic, Waclaw returns to his cabin to find that his bunkmate and companion, Mátyás, has gone missing. A search of the rig confirms his fear that Mátyás has fallen into the sea.
Grief-stricken, he embarks on an epic emotional and physical journey that takes him to Morocco, to Budapest and Mátyás's hometown in Hungary, to Malta, Italy, and finally to the mining town of his childhood in Germany. Waclaw's encounters along the way with other lost and yearning souls - Mátyás's angry, grieving half-sister; lonely rig workers on shore leave; a truck driver who watches the world change from his driver's seat - bring us closer to his origins while also revealing the problems of a globalized economy dependent on waning natural resources. High as the Waters Rise is a stirring exploration of male intimacy, the nature of memory and grief, and the cost of freedom - the story of a man who stands at the margins of a society from which he has profited little, though its functioning depends on his labor.