On November 21st 1811, on the shores of Lake Wannsee near Potsdam, the writer and dramatist Heinrich von Kleist shot first Henriette Vogel and then himself.
On the day of his death, Kleist composed a letter to his sister Ulrike, writing these now-famous words: “The truth is that I could not be helped on Earth”.
As a writer rather than an academic biographer, Tanja Langer approaches the question of what might have happened during that final night. What did these two people do during the last hours of their life? Framed by detailed descriptions of the political and social climate in the Napoleonic era, she casts light on the fateful web of intrigues, friendships, disappointments, pleasures and illnesses that, in the end, made living an impossibility and lead them to forge a suicide pact. An atmospherically dense and intensely absorbing re-imagining of a tragic night.