What We Are Made Of

Thomas Hettche

05 January 2012
352 pages


It is early September 2002 and Niklas Kalf, a German writer, is in New York for the first time. He has just published a biography of a Jewish-German physicist named Eugen Meerkaz, who emigrated to the USA in the late 1930s. Niklas is accompanied by his wife Liz, who is several months pregnant. The hot NY summer and the first anniversary of the World Trade Center catastrophe weigh heavily on the city.

On the morning of their third day in the place, Liz is kidnapped. In return for her release her anonymous captor demands information on secret experiments that Meerkaz has supposedly conducted – information Niklas does not have. In desperation, he re-examines every fact about the scientist and every document in his possession and comes up with one faint lead – a letter addressed to Meerkaz’s widow Elsa by a German soldier and postmarked in Marfa, TX.

Niklas embarks on a tumultuous journey to this reclusive part of Texas and eventually discovers secret links to an occultist group. But will he really be able to save his wife? The story comes to a spine-tingling conclusion in an abandoned old LA cinema.

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