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Tierra del Fuego

The true, world-spanning story of an extraordinary book

Two men, two centuries – bound together by one extraordinary book. Thomas Bridges, the author, grows up as the foster son of a British missionary at the end of the world, in Tierra del Fuego, among the children of the Yaghan tribe. Fascinated by the rich world and language of this indigenous tribe, Thomas begins to obsessively collect their words – words like tumuhaimana, which means “disappearing into the depths of the water like a stone”.
He never leaves Tierra del Fuego but his book is stolen from him, and, decades later, it falls into the hands of the german ethnologist Ferdinand Hestermann. Hestermann suspects that he has found a unique treasure. He, too, devotes his life to the book, hides it during the 1930s from the Nazis, rescuing an entire library in the process.

• During his 13-year world tour, Michael Hugentobler came across the history of this dictionary and its author in the depths of Patagonia; this served as the basis of his enlightening novel about the unconditional determination to preserve a culture - whether in South America or in a country and at a time in which books are being burned.
• For readers of Cees Nooteboom


dtv Literatur
224 pages, ISBN 978-3-423-28269-7
18. März 2021