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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,892 ratings  ·  277 reviews
"I know you'll return."

These are his grandmother's last words to him. Leo has them in his head as he boards the truck one freezing mid-January morning in 1945. They keep him company during the long journey to Russia. They keep him alive - through hunger, pain, and despair - during his time in the brutal Soviet labour camp. And, eventually, they will bring him back home.

Paperback, 300 pages
Published July 2011 by Fischer (Tb.), Frankfurt (first published 2009)
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A book which must not be rushed through, that's how beautiful the language is. It's hard to believe it was translated from the German. A book about the will to live, among other things, and the richness of life even in reduced circumstances. To read it merely as an account of life in the Gulag would be too limiting. It goes much deeper.

Late in life a gay man remembers what it was like to be transported from his family home in Romania to the Russian Gulag. It was 1945 and he was a 17-year old eth
So, I started reading this book and it was just one of those One Day in the Life of …… kind of Russian Gulag books, and not much of one, really, as these things go, although it promised to be different because Leo Auberg is Transylvanian, a German transplant if you will. As if Stalin needs a reason. Leo is seventeen, and gay, but that’s not why he’s packed away. His bathhouse urges are just flecks of character. If they knew he was gay, he would have gone to a different camp, a shorter stay, and ...more
Stephanie Sun
This book ends with a grown man dancing with a raisin. And then eating it.

The fact that I, someone whose life has been as far from Gulag survivor as they come, can, after reading this book, not see that image as weird and inconsequential, but layered with all of the pathos, dignity, gruesomeness, rightness, irony, and beauty that the author intended, says much about not only Muller's gifts as a writer and Philip Boehm's gifts as a translator, but also about what this medium of fiction is and can
The powerful futility of words

Words have a disconcerting power over Leo Auberg: the mere word AQUARELL (water colour) can make him stagger, as if kicked. That word seems to know how far he has already gone in his illicit bathhouse encounters. And yet, even more disconcertingly, a word like LAGER (camp), despite wartime, despite the penal camp near the canal from which those men arrested in the park or the bathhouse, brutally interrogated and incarcerated, from which they never return, or if they
Exile, hunger. The hunger angel is not a kind and gentle cherub, but like a Gnostic messenger of God's will, or the angel of death. Its constant presence gnaws away at those within the camp.

This reminds me of both Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Victor Frankl, but with a unique description, almost tender in its starkness. Double dispossession - being a German in Romania, and a German in the Soviet Union. Little details of work camp life which stand out.
This book has sneaked its way into my life in a very impertinent manner; for three years or so I had the cover gaping at me in various bookstores, and while I must have been dimly aware that Herta Müller had recently won the Nobel Prize (which is possibly also the reason I picked Atemschaukel up in the first place), I’d avoided it for quite a long time due to its ubiquity and because the cover photograph anticipates only too well the book’s subject matter. (I have the same problem with films; fo ...more
Beautiful, poetic writing. Muller's style and subject (WWII Romania and Russian deportation camps)are pretty unfamiliar territory to me, but themes are similar to those I've found in other stories about the soul-stealing power of dislocation and internment.
The personification of HUNGER reminded me of Elie Wiesel and Knute Hamson's writing. Strangely, I am also reading 'The Book Thief' which is narrated by DEATH, a character pivotal to that story and so many others, even if unintentional.
Уххх... удря право в сърцето, в онези кътчета на страховете, на самотата, на безразличието, на преглътнатите сълзи, на осъзнаването, че не принадлежиш към място, дом и род.
Херта Мюлер изгражда свят, който много прилича на фотографска лента. Съобщителните изречения и привидната липса на дълбоки чувства, правят описанието безкрайно трогващо. "Преди" и "след" са категории, които плавно се наслагват в повествованието не, за да задават въпроси, а точно обратното - за да внушат липсата на отговори. Чо
May 02, 2012 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes beautiful prose
Won this in a goodreads giveway.
I write too much for other reasons to ever give reviews any effort, so:
Like watching a silk string coil and uncoil in the dirt.
Like the slow waves of grass.
Leo is nothing but his voice, his observation, his desires, his exhaustion and hunger, his memories. As the years drain by he becomes more and more indistinguishable from what he describes, but never completely, instead more like the shadow of a cloud passing by, and then later the land beneath the shadow.
Nathan Long
In 1945 the Soviet general Vinogradov presented a demand in Stalin's name that all Germans living in Romania be mobilized for "rebuilding" the war-damaged Soviet Union. All men and women between seventeen and forty-five years of age were deported to forced-labor camps in the Soviet Union.

My mother, too, spent five years in a labor camp.

The deportations were a taboo subject because they recalled Romania's Facist past. Those who had been in the camp never spoke of their experiences except at ho
The quiet poetry of hunger, powerlessness and death, written in perhaps 80 short episodes, often like prose poems, with only occasional changes of tone towards the ironic or mildly humorous. To be read slowly, and not in one sitting...
Stephen Durrant
When Herta Müller received a much-deserved Nobel Prize in 2009, she was lauded for her portrayal of "the landscape of the dispossessed." These words are a very fitting description of "The Hunger Angel," a tribute to her fellow German-Romanians, who were deported to Siberian prison camps after the war for their supposed or real collaboration with Hitler's Germany. Müller's mother spent five years in such a camp, but the protagonist here is a young man, whose story is apparently based upon a detai ...more
“And we had our mouths, which had grown so high and hollow that our steps echoed inside. A bright void in the skull, as if we’d swallowed too much glaring light. A light that sweetly creeps up your throat and swells and rises to your brain. Until you no longer have a brain inside your head, only the hunger echo. No word was adequate for the suffering caused by hunger. To this day, I have to show hunger that I have escaped his grasp. Ever since I stopped having to go hungry, I literally eat life ...more
Ala AbuTaki
إسرافٌ في الوصف والتفاصيل الصغيرة , في الثلج الذي يشبه ندف القطن , أو نثار السكر المطحون فوق قطعة حلوى , أو ... الكثير من التفاصيل ولاشيء يحدث تحديداً . ثمة الكثير من التأملات , في الجوع والحنين والجوع مرةً أخرى . وثمة الكثير من الإطالة والملل في بعض المقاطع .. ولا أدري أهوَ سرُّ الكاتبة أم أزمة المُترجم !

أفضل الفصول وأقلها إملالاً وأجملها بالنسبةٍ لي هو ما جاء في ال30 صفحة الأخيرة , ولا أعرف أكان ذلك لأنني احتجت لوقتٍ استعيد فيه حماسي للكتاب بعد أن تركته كل هذا الوقت أو أن هذه الفصول هي الألذ ح
Fuad Takrouri
أرجوحة النفس
هيرتا موللر

((أغراض تبحث عني بالرغم من إمكانية ألا تربطني بها أية علاقة. أغراض تريد ترحيلي ليلاً وأخذي ثانية إلى المعسكر، هي تريد ذلك فعلاً، لأنها تأتي على شكل قطعان ولا تبقى فقط في الرأس. إنني أشعر بضغط في المعدة. ضغط يصعد إلى الحلق. أرجوحة النفس تراكب فوق بضعها البعض.....))

حين تكون الرؤية مؤلمة للحد الذي لا يحتمل
وتكون الطريق ذاكرة ألم.
ربما هو حزن، ولكن برؤية فلسفة هيرتا، وبإبداع أيضاً تضيف العناصر بعضها لبعض لتحاور ألم الاعتقال.
كما تنقلنا بمنتهى المهارة إلى تلك السنوات الخمس، سنوا
Lada Moskalets
роман, який змінює звичні знані нам категорії і в ролі в'язня трудового табору на Донбасі опиняються німці. починаєш розуміти, що справа не в ідеї чи нації, а в структурі, яка змінює і перетворює людей на жертв і катів, а потім не дає вирватися назад у нормальне життя і звільнення з табору не означає свободи - бо рутини табору на кшталт танців у дерев'яних черевиках стали твоїм життям.
попри описи табору, голоду і важкої праці, книжка не безнадійно песимістична, вона радше про те, як не дозволит
"A cattle-train wagon blues, a kilometre song of time set in motion."

It's an interesting choice of words Müller has her protagonist make to describe the long train ride at the end of World War II, packed in like sardines, the long cold way to the camp in the East. After all, the blues arose from a culture where the people had been deliberately robbed of their own languages and had them replaced with a rudimentary one, with the idea that they wouldn't be able to say - and by extension think - muc
Quest'opera parte con un intento documentario ma ben presto lascia il posto all'impianto intimistico-introspettivo, trascinando il lettore in un abisso esistenziale; l'abisso dell'esperienza del suo giovane protagonista di un campo di lavori forzati.
Ennesimo contributo al tema, si contraddistingue per il fortissimo carattere introspettivo: tutto è filtrato dal giovane protagonista, in una confessione-riflessione confusa, che salta nel tempo. L'iniziativa può sembrare lodevole, il risultato molto
"الموتُ ليسَ صعود الروحِ من جسدٍ
أو استراحة مطعونٍ ومنهزمِ

الموتُ ألا ترى في يومِ مسغَبةٍ
خلّا يهوِّنٍ ما لاقيتَ من ألمِ" !
حذيفة العرجي

حماقة الآخرين في معتقل الحياة تجعل من البعض ثمناً زاهداً لها!
بعد الحرب النازية حمّل الروس الأقلية الألمانية ( الرومانيين من أصل ألماني ) كلفت الحرب وذلك باقتفائهم و اعتقالهم وبعثهم الى معسكراتهم داخل أوكرانيا لإعادة إعمار ما هدمته ماكينة الحرب.
أرجوحة النفس تروي وبمرارة عن عذابات الانسان الصارخة في المعسكر عن ( اضطراب إيقاعه التنفسي) ، الخوف ، الألم والجوع وصراعاته
اما گنج ها وجود خارجی دارند.در این مورد حق با تورپریکولیچ بود.
بازگشت برای من به وطن یک شانس در خور ستایش دائمی بود. یک چرخش دایمی که
برای هر کثافتی شروع به چرخیدن میکرد.من راهمچون موم در دست داشت.همانطور
که گنچ هایم که نه توان نگه داشتنشان و نه توان خلاص شدن از شرشان را داشتم. بیش از شصت سال است که از گنج هایم استفاده میکنم. آنها سست و سمج، مانوس و چندش آور، فراموش نشدنی و کینه توزانه ، کهنه و نو هستند و همگی جهیزیه ی آرتورپریکولیچ اند و تفاوت قائل شدن بین آنها کار من نیست، وقتی می شمارمشان به تلو
Leo Auberg was just seventeen when two policemen went from house to house with a list. They were rounding up people to take them to a prison camp in the Soviet Union. Leo traveled by train to the camp. Once there, he spent five grueling years in the camp. Although, Leo did not know it yet, he would have a companion with him. HIs companion would be known as the "hunger angel".

Ms. Muller is a profilic writer. She described in much detail the hunger that Leo was experiencing. I wuld have to say tho
تتناول أرجوحة النفس قضية قمع الرومانيين من أصل ألماني، إبان فترة الحكم الاستاليني في أوروبا الشرقية. بعد هزيمة ألمانيا في الحرب العالمية الثانية، واحتلال الجيش الأحمر لرومانيا. صدرت الأوامر، بإيداع جميع الرومانيين من أصل ألماني، بين سن السابعة عشر والخامسة والأربعين، معسكرات العمل القسري. رأى الاتحاد السوفيتي حينها؛ أن على هؤلاء الألمان، المشاركة في إعادة بناء ما دمرته ألمانيا النازية.
لا تركز موللر في روايتها على فكرة الحدث وتصاعده مع تنامي الشخصيات. ليس ثمة حدث يمكن أن يتصاعد ليصل بنا مع الشخ
Herta Müller, has written a stunning, haunting novel about suffering and survival in the Soviet work camps following World War II. In The Hunger Angel, Müller presents us with Leo Auberg, a young, closeted gay man in German controlled Europe. One day, late in the war, he is picked up suddenly and shipped off to a labor camp in Russia where he suffers with fellow inmates through cold, harsh working conditions and, most acutely, hunger.

In spare prose, Müller dramatizes the constant struggle that L
The Hunger Artist does what great art always does, it creates its own world which only tangentially intersects with our own. It is about a Romanian/German boy who is arrested and shipped to a Russian forced labor camp following World War II. This is a part of European history which is not often examined, but it is not about history, it is about the existential night of people seized out of their own lives and put into the limbo world of camp life. It feels more like Camus than Solzhenitzyn. I st ...more
Bob Pearson
Herta Muller, as her translator tells us, finds "words for the displacement of the soul among victims of totalitarianism." Recall the year you were seventeen. Imagine your country had lost the war. Visualize the night the victors came through your town and took you with hundreds of others to a train siding and shipped you east to oblivion. How would you escape the killing reality of day after endless day in a slave labor camp? What would you accommodate or even accept in order to survive? Where ...more
Lucy *Qhuay's shellan*

I tried to love this book, but even though I think the writing is amazing and that the story started beautifully, I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy it from the 25% mark on

Surprisingly, I found myself rather bored and with no will to keep reading it.

I did found interesting the fact that hunger was called an angel, yet it was this dark, ominous, shadowed figure, a silent companion to the protagonist of this story and everyone else. More like a demon than an angel, really.

However, the book jus
Sep 26, 2011 Joaquim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joaquim by: a cultural review

Auschwitz II (Birkenau), o zénite da bestialidade humana, com a qual se identificou, apresentava no extermínio decorrente da raça [ciganos, judeus] ou do comportamento [homossexuais], o exemplo das práticas nazis em terras polacas e com ele quase ocupava o negro espaço dos atos desumanos cometidos nos “campos”. Nesta obra, Herta Muller, de um modo profundo no seu contar atomizado e realista, acrescenta situação até onde pode ir, e foi, em campos de trabalho soviéticos, um quase indizível process
There are so many ways to interpret this book. It is finely written with mind blowing passages that will send tingles down your spine as you connect with the core of Muller's writing. At times the narrative is seamless in the bleak Russian Labor camp and young Leo's perseverance and willingness to survive the horrid wretched days of lice, disease and starvation. In other parts you are witness to his all consumed stoic grief, as if you want to cry out for him, to help him see his own devastating ...more

Non ho trovato nel libro "L'altalena del respiro" la stessa forza rivoluzionaria che sbaraglia i canoni consolidati, quella potenza che opprime e soffoca come un macigno che mi aveva travolto leggendo "L'albero delle prugne verdi".
Però, superando la freddezza iniziale, ho ritrovato la cima della corda intagliata di metafore e immagini che compongono lo stile unico, personalissimo della Muller e grazie ad esso sono riuscita ad afferrare esattamente l'essenza, la grana più fine e profonda di ques
When Müller was awarded the Nobel prize in 2009, the Anglophone world was left scratching their heads as to why this German-Romanian novelist deserved the accolade over their American favourites. Unfavourably, critics and media denounced the Nobel Eurocentric and pegged Müller as an obscure Eastern European writer without having read any of her works.

But The Hunger Angel (or as literally translated, 'Breath-Swing') is undoubtedly one of the most powerful, lasting works I have read this year, unf
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Herta Müller was born in Niţchidorf, Timiş County, Romania, the daughter of Swabian farmers. Her family was part of Romania's German minority and her mother was deported to a labour camp in the Soviet Union after World War II.

She read German studies and Romanian literature at Timişoara University. In 1976, Müller began working as a translator for an engineering company, but in 1979 was dismissed
More about Herta Müller...
The Land of Green Plums The Appointment The Passport Nadirs Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger

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“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.” 104 likes
“I'm always telling myself I don't have many feelings. Even when something does affect me I'm only moderately moved. I almost never cry. It's not that I'm stronger than the ones with teary eyes, I'm weaker. They have courage. When all you are is skin and bones, feelings are a brave thing. I'm more of a coward. The difference is minimal though, I just use my strength not to cry. When I do allow myself a feeling, I take the part that hurts and bandage it up with a story that doesn't cry, that doesn't dwell on homesickness.” 62 likes
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