Reither, who until a short while ago was a publisher in a big city and now lives in an idyllic valley at the edge of the Alps, receives an unexpected visitor one evening. Into his life steps Leonie Palm, who most recently owned a hat shop. She closed the store due to a lack customers who looked good in hats; he his publishing house because more and more people were writing rather than reading. Together, they set off on a trip without a destination, which takes them to Sicily. En route, they exchange stories from their pasts and take the future as it comes. Along the way, they encounter a girl, who joins them wordlessly.
"Bodo Kirchhoff writes about the unprecedented journey of two people without a destination and with nothing but a direction – the South. They are driven by the age-old longing for love, for red wine, Italy, an adventure later in life. When they pick up a young vagabond along the way, they find themselves once again confronting the elementary themes of their past: loss, parenthood, radical new beginnings. In a densely woven narrative, Kirchhoff succeeds in negotiating the great motifs of his literary oeuvre in a small space. At the same time, he writes about our present and about how two melancholy seekers of good fortune encounter the people who, in this day and age, are setting out in the opposite direction, from South to North. Kirchhoff’s “Widerfahrnis” (“Encounter”) is a many-layered text that masterfully interweaves private and political existential questions and releases the reader out into the open."