‘B. is the dirtiest town in Europe,’ wrote Monika Maron in her debut novel Flugasche (1981). B. stands for Bitterfeld, even now synonymous with ailing industry and the destruction of nature. Thirty years on, Maron visited the town again and traced out the radical change that has taken place. She writes about the decline and the resurrection of a region, about the difficult foundation of the Bitterfeld-Wolfen chemistry park, where large corporations such as Bayer and Guardian Industries now have premises, but where former employees of the film factory and the chemicals collective have also rescued workable parts of their old companies, with great daring and at high risk. Above all, though, the book is about how four solar enthusiasts set out from West Berlin to the provinces of deepest East Germany to build a solar cell factory for forty workers. The need of one side, for whom every job was precious, and the dreams of the others, armed with a mere sixty thousand marks in start-up capital, forged an alliance that has achieved the unimaginable. Only eight years later, Q-Cells is the largest solar cell manufacturer in the world. The tiny solar cell factory has grown into ‘Solar Valley’, providing jobs for 3500 workers, scientists and engineers.