‘Recently something funny happened. There was no summer, no autumn either.’ With this opener Maike Wetzel begins exploring that moment in life when the breakneck experience of growing up suddenly changes gear and slows down. A young woman sees a dead body for the first time; a sister watches her anorexic sibling transform into different person; a girl pieces together the facts of a custody battle she’s not been let in on. Wetzel’s stories catch people when some part of their lives has been put on pause, leaving them so adrift only acts of obsession or self-destruction provide direction. Wetzel’s stories have great depth of focus. In the background, an over-eager teacher might be explaining the facts of life in unnecessary, lurid detail, but in the foreground students will be taking drastic measures, in secret; a gymnastics class may be limbering up for an impressive display, but in close-up, dietcrazed girls faint in alarming numbers. With pared down but insistent language, Wetzel achieves a poise and clarity and presents lives that are as arresting as they are arrested.
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