Herta Muller

THE LAUREATE: Herta Muller was born in Romania in 1953 to German immigrants. Her father was an SS officer and her mother was deported to Soviet Russia for forced labor. Muller herself started her career as a translator for a factory, but was then fired for not cooperating with the secret police. She started writing while still living in communist Romania, but was soon given permission to leave to West Germany. Her breakout year was 2009, when her most successful book was published and she won the Nobel. She and her husband still live in Berlin.

WHAT I’M READING: The Land of Green Plums

REVIEW: The Land of Green Plums is about four students living in an unnamed Romanian city under the communist regime. They are frequently questioned by secret police officers who may well be the same secret police officer. They try to live with the eyes of a hostile government and its hostile people. They leave school and scatter to the suburbs. I dunno, this is a hard book to summarize. It is densely symbolic and frequently returns to certain words and phrases and there’s just generally a lot to talk about. I’m going to have to reread it, hopefully in a clean copy and not covered in insipid notes and pointless underlining.

RECOMMENDED: Yes. I’ll be picking up a few more of Frau Muller’s books as soon as I have money for such things.

WHAT’S NEXT: Frans Eemil Sillanpää’s People of the Summer Night

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