“Maybe I'm a philosophical person—the crucial question is: how deep can a person dive with a single breath?” Termann is a free diver. He's come to the island, accompanied by journalists and his crew, in hopes of setting a record. The pressure mounts as the dive approaches, but Termann must remain calm. When the Heart Drowns in Its Own Blood delves into the psyche of a high-performance athlete as he pushes his body and mind to the limits of human ability.
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Liczba stron: 27
Readux Books: Series 2, No 5
Copyright (c) 2012 by Philipp Schönthaler
Translation copyright (c) 2014 by Amanda DeMarco
Originally published as
“Wenn das Herz im eigenen Blut ertrinkt” in Nach oben ist das Leben offen by Matthes & Seitz Berlin
First English translation, 2014
All rights reserved
Cover illustration and book design by Susann Stefanizen
Published by Readux Books
Sorauer Str. 16, Berlin, Germany
Translated from the German by Amanda DeMarco
Termann knows that he can’t think now, can’t sink — he has to look ahead, focus his thoughts. Termann is standing at the window in his room. It’s late, the water before him dim and impenetrable. Only at the horizon does a small strip of sea merge with the turquoise-gray sky; the rest is dark. The mountains too have already huddled together to a heavy mass, like the warm black bulk of cows in the night, motionless except for their mulling mouths, their heavy bodies, which wearily radiate the heat of the day. Termann slips a shirt over his bare upper body. He shivers and feels how the air streams into his lungs. He takes it in until his chest and his ribs are vaulted. Termann concentrates his thoughts, compresses them to a point.
Exactly a week ago he came in by plane from out there, above where his gaze now comes to rest on the water. He’d stayed at the hotel the last time, and he wanted the same lodgings. Only the room is different, one door down, but with the same view out onto the terrace, the narrow, rocky beach with the dragon trees, the sea. The ice cubes clink in his glass. Termann takes a sip. He knows that he’s drinking too fast — he shouldn’t be drinking at all, but he keeps drinking and empties the glass in one final swig, setting it on the windowsill. He belches. When he groped for a tissue to blow his nose yesterday morning after getting up, fear gripped him mid-reach: a cold would be fatal now, it would be the immediate end of everything. This could only be irritation caused by the salt water.
Termann says to his coach: “At night, when I’m lying awake, I have the sudden longing to be one with the sea, and a fear of losing myself in the waters’ vastness.” Shortly thereafter to a journalist outside at the harbor: “I know that I’m human, and I have to breathe, but down below it loses its attraction. An indescribable sensation of happiness grows within me. My senses, my perception, are sharpened to the utmost degree.” After a pause, Termann adds: “Don’t forget that during the Second World War, even submarines didn’t reach the seventy-meter mark. I want to go three times as deep, unprotected, with a single breath.”
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