Ilse Helbich’s unsentimental notes from an endangered and thus all the more valuable life in old age
Once again, Ilse Helbich has compiled notes of the past two years, i.e. her comments on ageing, her self-observations and documentations, in a new book. It focuses on a certain phenomenon that the author perceives in altering manifestations and at different places, as reflected in the title Meltings. In her old age, she experiences very intensely the transition between different stages of life, between memories and dreams. One thing slowly melts into another, transforming as if exposed to great heat. A visit in Dresden evokes yet another dimension of melting. The re-built Frauenkirche makes her painfully aware of the entire unresolved, and unresolvable, complex of her generation’s actions – the guilt, the complicity, the conformism, suppression and concealment.
As in all her unique works of documentation and recollection, Helbich demonstrates the sober, focused elegance of her writing also in this book. This lucid attempt to find the truth, in particular in the section on suppressed, concealed and disfigured memories of war and post-war times, will leave no reader unmoved.