Stories that intertwine, and stories within stories: with The Distant Places of Failure, Frank Witzel has woven a grandiose literary Möbius strip. Starting from everyday situations, the narrator, together with his characters, drills relentlessly to the bottom of the conditions of being human. Breathlessly, the reader follows the labyrinthine stories that lead him into a maze of reality. A colorful bouquet of life concepts, stereotypes and pathologies reveal realities behind reality: a mushroom picker finds a corpse in the forest and tries to avoid possible consequences; a couple goes to a photo shoot on the Todtnauberg; a woman with a horse wish has to deal with the even more outlandish wishes of her partners; a lawyer develops the theory of the illogical second on a free afternoon; a woman gets into a remote village by chance, where she is exposed to various mechanisms of desire; another woman tries to save herself from an impending blow of fate through a voodoo ritual.
Frank Witzel has published numerous radio plays, essays, and novels, including The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969, for which he received the German Book Prize in 2015, and Sweet Shipwreck (2020). In 2017 he received the Poetics Lectureship from the University of Heidelberg, and in 2018 the Poetics Lectureship from the University of Tübingen; he also held the Friederichs Endowed Professorship at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach. In 2021 he received the Erich Fried Prize.