The motto is »stop making sense«. Antonius tries to cope with a general feeling of meaninglessness, and finally decides to only do meaningless things from now on. This is why he tidies rubbish bins. When he does not get an answer to his question if rubbish bin care might not be a rather meaningful activity after all, he immediately stops it.
Renate, on the other hand, would like to disappear from her own life. She finds it is dull when it is actually quite comfortable. But it does not bring her joy.
That is the present, a hopeless mess. The past has not been better but seems, in hindsight, neat and orderly. Also, Antonius only played a supporting role then. Others have been more active: They fought to occupy a space in their world or in their business; they chased a missing book that seemed to have reappeared; they were in love or not; parents had been murdered, empires crumbled. A lot was going on at that time. What became of all that? By now, the past is already bigger than the future will be.
How the waste is put in order is set in today’s capitalistic world, at the interface of times and regimes (Berlin 1990). Just as her novel Treffen sich zwei, we are intrigued by the serene, and sometimes less serene, interplay of relationships and pairings that Hanika portrays with skill and wit.
»An author who writes wittily, sincerely, and without the slightest sensationalism.« (Spiegel)
»An ingenious linguistic innovator… incredibly funny and then abruptly shocking« (Radio Bremen)
»Iris Hanika asks a lot from the reader, but rewards them greatly« (Der Freitag)
»How the waste is put in order is immensely enjoyable both as a warm-hearted Berlin novel and as an unlikely love story. Iris Hanika’s gift for characterisation is employed to full effect in this witty, wryly observed portrait of intersecting lives in Berlin.« (New Books in German)