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The Hunger Angel: A Novel Paperback – April 30, 2013
Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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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.” ―The 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.” ―The 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
“Unflinching. . .Ms. Müller's vision of a police state manned by plum thieves reads like a kind of fairy tale on the mingled evils of gluttony, stupidity, and brutality.” ―The New York Times on The Land of Green Plums
“Müller has triumphed in her honesty. . . . Describes in precisely hewn detail what it was like to live in Romania under communism.” ―The Washington Post on The Land of Green Plums
“This heartbreaking tale is bitter and dark, yet beautiful... stark and telling.” ―The San Diego Union-Tribune on The Land of Green Plums
“Ms. Müller's rich, harsh, obsessive imagery captures the surreal beauty and the difficulty of Ceausescu-era Romania.” ―The Boston Book Review on The Land of Green Plums
“Impressive, wholly authentic . . .a bleak fable with the flickering intensity of a nightmare.” ―International Herald Tribune on The Land of Green Plums
About the Author
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.
Müller's earlier books --The Passport, The Land of Green Plums, The Appointment -- have been painfully true to their single subject: Herta Müller herself. I don't know precisely how much they were autobiographical, but it doesn't matter. They were authentic, the confession/justification of a difficult-to-nasty woman in an even nastier time and place. They were page after page of hard-to-chew bitterness but they were their own antidote, both by the necessity of recognizing our modern societal calamities and by the brilliance of their language. Herta writes sentences beautifully, describes vividly, re-invents the German language with electrifying originality. In The Hunger Angel (Atemschaukel), I fear she writes too well. She's given us crystal chandelier sort of grief, or an Art Nouveau curlicue tableau of a martyrdom. She's gone totally "literary" on us. Am I scornful of "literature"? I suppose I am, when it rings insincere.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 9 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 12 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 21 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 22 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 22 months ago by A N G