Deathly Silence invites comparisons with Patrick Süskind’s Perfume but stands alone as a compelling and provocatively macabre read.
Karl Heidemann is born with hyper-sensitive hearing. Even before his premature birth, Karl is overwhelmed by the painful cacophony of sounds around him. During his first involuntary excursion outside the soundproofed cellar where he spends his early childhood, Karl witnesses his mother’s suicide. Instead of being traumatised, the young boy experiences a reassuring and exhilarating sense of peace in the silence that emanates from death. This early discovery piques Karl’s private fascination with the act of dying, which he at first explores through despatching sick and maimed animals. Eventually – and inevitably – Karl becomes a murderer, drowning two people he holds responsible for driving his mother to the grave.
What follows is a path of self-exile and roaming on the fringes of society until the mass murderer finds a kind of home within the walls of a monastery. But monkhood only warps Karl’s relationship to death further until he finally seeks peace in his own death rather than continuing to visit it upon others.