Published: November 2007
Sybille Berg’s Sex II traces a twenty-four hour period in the day of a thirtysomething woman on the verge of a breakdown. Set in the labyrinthine inner city of a German metropolis, the heroine wakes up one morning cursed with the ability to see through walls. She’s thus condemned to see what any resident of a large conurbation can, but looking from the inside out rather than from the outside in as she peers from the depth of the soul into the exposed corpus of social roles.
Every window she looks through, every house she gazes at, every person she sees releases its story, another incident in the life of the city. Every story is defined by the time, name, age, and a couple of traits that identify its protagonist. One after the other, a barrage of incidents, just a minute apart, clash under the heroine’s piercing gaze, at times colliding head on and at other just grazing past each other like strangers in the street. All these unseen heroes touch each other’s lives and without realizing it live beyond their selves. As in real life, they have problems in their professional lives; they’re joined in a deep, overwhelming weariness. Most kill each other or die of boredom, loneliness, unsung and neglected as they fail to fill their lives for even a second. And all are motivated by a yearning for love, but in Sex II love is already impossible, untraceable.
Sex II is a demonic narrative about life’s most ordinary things. It unfolds at the pace of an urban thriller, an explosive mix of cynicism and unbridled humor that, at the end (which in no way could be happy), makes the reader embrace reality more freely.
More in the Readers Guide.