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The Hunger Angel: A Novel Hardcover – April 24, 2012
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“A wonderful, passionate, poetic work of literature...Herta Muller is a writer who releases great emotional power through a highly sophisticated, image studded, and often expressionistic prose.” ―Neal Ascherson, The New York Review of Books
“This is not just a good novel, it is a great one… Müller is through and through a stylist. Her novel is written in a taut idiomatic German, which breaks into paragraphs of wrenching, Rilkean lyricism...A masterpiece.” ―Financial Times
“Written in terse, hypnotic prose...exquisite.” ―New Yorker
“Wry and poetic, and Müller's evocative language makes the abstract concrete as her narrator's sanity is stretched...Boehm's translation preserves the integrity of Müller's gorgeous prose, and Leo's despondent reveries are at once tragic and engrossing.” ―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“The stunning, exhilarating, heartbreaking culmination of Muller's work as a novelist...A 300-page prose poem of resistance to totalitarian repression, the book is a haunting paean to the human angel--the inventive, imaginative, invincible force that transcends suffering and absement, that defies depersonalization and deprivation to survive, and even thrive.” ―The Wichita Eagle
“A work of rare force, a feat of sustained and overpowering poetry…Muller has the ability to distil concrete objects into language of the greatest intensity and to sear these objects on to the reader's mind.” ―Times Literary Supplement
“A phenomenal, moving and humbling novel.” ―Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“A taut and brilliant book.” ―Chicago Tribune on The Appointment
“A brooding, fog-shrouded allegory of life under the long oppression of the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu.” ―The New York Times on The Appointment
“Müller scatters narrative bombshells across a field of dreams.” ―San Francisco Chronicle on The Appointment
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Top Customer Reviews
Leo Auberg is a teenage rebel living with his family in Romania when he is simply swept away along with many of his neighbors. For the next 5 years we are in the labor camp with him, learning to survive.
Herta Müller is such a powerful descriptive writer. She will take a simple item, like a bag of cement, and write about experiences with it so poetically that you feel you remember carrying and working with that cement yourself.
A word about the translation: it is brilliant. Müller plays with language in German and occasionally Russian and translator Philip Boehm keeps right up with her, letting us appreciate the wordplay in English.
What is shocking is that while the rest of the world was was relieved by the ending of WWII, thousands of people of Germanic descent were being snatched from their homes in Romania. In her Afterword, Müller writes that within this group, "all men and women in between seventeen and forty-five years of age were deported to forced-labor camps in the Soviet Union." Why is this not widely known?
In high school I read a lot of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago). No book has hit me as hard in the many years since then until The Hunger Angel.
A particularly heartbreaking part of the novel is how poorly Leo adjusts to release from the camps. He cannot express emotion and his family does not know what to do with him. It is such a letdown since you longed for his freedom throughout his suffering. That seems even more tragic than his five years of suffering. He can never recover. I highly recommend this powerful, haunting novel. Food will never look the same.
No man is an Island, entire of itself...Every man is an Island, entire of itself.
(emphasis and changes are mine)
These two quotes are simply thoughts of two individuals. Nietzsche's quote isn't even accurate ('kill' should be 'destroy'); I suppose it was changed by simply another individual to make the message more powerful And yet, people use these witticisms as guides/mental support for their lives. I really dislike these and many other 'sayings' because they're misleading and untrue. Nowhere is it more obvious than in The Hunger Angel. Soviet Union's regime and its gulags had that absolute power which could and did kill a great number of people; those who had the misfortune to come back from the dead, existed among the living as if suspended between life and death. They indeed survived the camps but returned weaker, conditioned to fear, yearning for the relief of death and not receiving it. They were little islands floating among those saved from the cruel reality of the camps and living entirely of and dependent on themselves. This is the truth Leo Auberg embodies.
When I picked up The Hunger Angel, I didn't know what to expect. I was hoping I would like it and would be able to appreciate the aspects of Herta Müller's writing that earned her the title of a Nobel Prize winner. What I didn't expect was to be stunned into silence by the power of Müller's gift. From page three, when I read
"I carry silent baggage. I have packed myself into silence so deeply and for so long that I can never unpack myself using words. When I speak, I only pack myself a little differently.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My friend, Aileen, gave me her copy of Herta Muller's The Hunger Angel when she had finished it. It is not a book that I would have chosen myself. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Valerie Penny
Honestly, I have never read anything that surprised me more. Very well written and a complete revelation. I don't want to give away too much. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Britta
The Hunger Angel
At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union required that German people from the ages of 17 to 45 be taken to labor camps... Read more
Muller's work depicts the mental constructions of a young Romanian internee in a post-war Russian labor camp. Read morePublished 14 months ago by albert grobmyer
If you ever wondered why Herta Muller received the Nobel for literature, read "The Hunger Angel." For me, it's one more proof of literature's transformative power. Read morePublished 16 months ago by CT
It is very well written. A bit depressing since it is about an internment camp. Descriptions about the life, plants, wooden clogs, the cold, the hunger. There almost no plotPublished 16 months ago by A N G
The Hunger Angel is a work of fiction based on the real-life experiences of Herta Müller's mother and, to a greater extent, on those of her friend the poet Oskar Pastior. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Steven Davis