34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Historic and Engrossing,
This review is from: The Hunger Angel: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is both an historically important book and an engrossing read.
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.