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The Passport

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  1,019 ratings  ·  169 reviews

From the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature!

“[The Passport] has the same clipped prose cadences as Nadirs, this time applied to evoke the trapped mentality of a man so desperate for freedom that he views everything through a temporal lens, like a prisoner staring at a calendar in his cell.”—Wall Street Journal

“A swift, stinging narrative, fable-like in its stoi

Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

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Unsettling little book. Many short terse sentences. It's how I remembered Müller when I first read her. The images she uses don't make sense at first, but eventually they do in a strange way.
Otkako sam zatvorio knjigu menjam ocenu - sa četiri zvezdice na tri i sada sam opet vratio na četiri.
Teško je oceniti ovakvu knjigu. Ona ima sve elemente jednog remek-dela ali mislim da bih teško mogao sebe da nateram da je pročitam ponovo. Na osnovu ovog jednog romana mogu da shvatim zašto je Herta Miler dobila Nobela (što recimo nije bio slučaj sa Mo Jenom) - drugačija je od drugih. Milerova je brutalno realna i eksplicitna a sa druge strane ume da upakuje problem u poneki eufemizam ili "šaren
Philippe Malzieu
"Man is a great pheasant on the earth.", funny of title

It is a novel on attempt. The miller Wendisch wants to emigrate. He wants to leave the communist greyness. He wants to pass to the west. He makes all for that. He works a lot and pay, pay.

He dreams : one day he will return as a visitor, well dressed as west people. There is Amélie, his daughter, who is given her to the police officer, to the minister, without pleasure and without love. Amélie cries, Amélie dries its tears. They wait and se
آه هيرتا موللر تكتب شيء مثير للغاية أشياء لا أحد يراها : " فظهرت عروق زرقاء صغيرة وراء أذنها " . تكتب كمشهد صامت إلا من صوت الماء و الأحذية : " تحت الكراسي تسيل أشرطة ماء بأشكال عشوائية, بخطوط معوجة, وتتلألأ بين الكراسي " .
لا تكتب مثلما كتب الآخرون ابدًا , تدرج الحديث تدخلك في المشهد كشبح خفي و تشعر ببرودة دم الشخصيات و تلمس عروقهم البارزة . " يقف حفار القبور حافيًا ووحيدًا في المقبرة. ينظف بمجراف القبر جزمته المطاطية" لك أن تبكي بنشيج طفيف من الوحشة و الخوف و الفكرة . تكتب بخفة أشياء صغيرة بطر
A disturbing piece of fiction depicting the fragmented existence of German-Romanians doing whatever it takes in their corrupt country to obtain passports to move to Germany. The story presents daily life as unpleasant, bitter, corrupt, with only momentary glimpses of anything that could be considered nice and little that can be considered good. Initially I was put off totally by the book, which is actually a novella. In the end, while still in no way able to say I truly enjoyed the act of readin ...more
Stephen Durrant
I am never quite sure why novels are retitled as they move from one language to another. The original title of Müller's book is "Der Mensch ist ein grosser Fasan auf der Welt," which we might translate roughly as "Man is a Large Pheasant in the World." Perhaps a book marketing specialist decided this just would not work in English, although apparently the French publisher was not troubled: "L'homme est un grand faisan sur terre." The problem is that the rather prosaic "The Passport," unlike the ...more
لم ولن أفهم أسلوب الكتابة الذي يركز على الأحداث المتعلقة بالجماد والنبات والحيوان بأدق التفاصيل بينما يتجاهل الشخصيات البشرية.. وحتى عندما يحصل حوار بين شخصين فإن الحوار لا يزيد عن عبارة أو اثنتين عبارات غريبة بشكل لا يصدق!! يتخلل ذلك وصف للملعقة أو الجدار أو الشجرة دون وصف أحاسيس الشخصيات أو أي شيء آخر.. رواية مستفزة لكن هناك شيء ما يغريني بالقراءة لهذه الكاتبة مرة أخرى..
Werner Herzog titled his movie about the life of Kaspar Hauser “Every Man Against Himself and God Against All’. That title might also fit Herta Muller’s vision of Communist Romania. This novel takes place in a small town among the German minority during the Ceausescu dictatorship, with a man willing to sacrifice everything, even his family, for the passport of the title. It is not so great a sacrifice as it might seem at first, since he does not seem to like his wife and daughter particularly. I ...more
Ben Dutton
Herta Müller was awarded The Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009, bringing the fiction of this Romanian writer to a world audience. Before this accolade, there were no novels by Müller available in English – though this one, and a few others, had previously been published but were now out of print. The small but wonderful publishing group Serpent’s Tail rushed to get Müller back into print.

The Passport (the title in German means literally “Man is a large pheasant in the world”, a Romanian proverb
Herta Muller is a German Transylvanian from a region of Romania referred to as the Banat. She wrote The Passport during the last days of the Communist regime. Because the Ceausescus were still in power, she had to resort to what is referred to as aesopic which is described thusly, according to a recent conference entitled "Aesopic Voices":
Political truth in the 20th Century was often monopolized by the holders of
power. Artists who opposed this monopoly faced real life dangers such as being
Hannah Rachel Potter
Overall Verdict: A horrible, bleak and despair-filled book – best avoided. (The generous one star is for the character of Amalie).

Well then. Where do I start with this one? Let me see. Oh yes. I hated it.

Sorry? What do you mean I can’t just say I hate it and leave it at that? Who says a book review has to be in depth? Oh, ok, fine!


So, you want to know what was so bad about it. Again, I’m not sure where to begin, but I shall endeavour to do my best. I would like to point out though, that I
روان طلال
التجربـة الأولى مع هيرتا موللر. التجربـة الغريبة و المدهِشة، قرأتها حتى النهايـة، عند كلمة "-انتهت-" تحديدا وجدتني أعود للصفحة الاولى و أعيد قرائتها في محاولة مني للتورط بها أكثر. الملفِت جدا في هيرتا هو اختيارها للجمل القصيرة دوما، و إلتفاتها لكل ما هو دقيق و صغير و مهمل. "توت السياج ينمو من عينيها." "تسمع أمالي الطلقة من وراء صوتها." "تمشي ملتصقة به تحت سترتـه و كأنها كتفه." "في السرير، في الليل، كنت أسمع الأنفاق." "لم أستطع أن أغمض عيني. في الليل كنت أحسّ بالجبال في رأسي.". يا للعظمة و الجنون ...more
Dana Susan
I didn't enjoy this slim novel by the recent Nobel Prize for Lit laureate, thought appreciate that it's well-written and an affecting story of the desperate plight of poor villagers living under the Rumanian dictatorship. Muller's tight, present-tense style I found annoying, and I got the message right away, though she kept plodding on.
But I give it two stars for the well-crafted story and the painful but important theme.

ترجمه ی مهرداد وثوقی

خوندنش کار آسونی نبود درست مثل بقیه ی کار هایی که از خانم مولر خونده م.اما این کتاب از نظر پیچیدگی یه تفاوت قابل توجهی داشت با سرزمین گوجه های سبز و یا قرار ملاقات و این تفاوت رو من و با همین درک کم و بیشی که از ادبیات دارم، بیشتر از هر چیزی مربوط به نا مفهوم بودن کار می دونم. البته توضیح داده شده که شرایط زمانه توو دوران نوشتن کتاب و بعد از اون، چاپ کتاب، شرایط مساعدی برای روشن و صریح نوشتن نبوده. اما این فقط بخشی از ماجرا برای یه خواننده ی فارسی زبان هستش. کتاب به شد
When Herta Müller won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009, there was the usual outcry from the powerful claiming to be oppressed by the European bias of the judges. Why is our literature being ignored? howled those who dominate the book industry throughout the English-speaking world, and of course they denigrated the winner as if to prove their point.

Tibor Fischer at the Guardian on behalf of the UK was so unimpressed that he misrepresented the plot with a reductive summary:

The Passport is a
This is the first book in my "Read all the Nobel for Literature authors" challenge. Herta Muller won the 2009 Nobel Prize, and this was the first book that came up in the library search, so The Passport it is!

When I started this book, I had two immediate thoughts.

1. This is definitely the work of an award winning writer. (This is not to say I liked it, merely that I could tell it would be appealing to an awarding body much in the same way that I can tell that, even though I enjoy Stephen King mo
Guillermo Jiménez
Anoche, después de comprar carne y cervezas para una reunión, después de agradecerle a Deyanira por meter en bolsas de plástico la carne y colocar la cerveza en el carrito de las compras, sentí que algo me oprimía el vientre.

La tensión acumulada de la semana laboral. El estrés del día. La junta con mi jefa el próximo lunes. Ver poco a Emilia.

“Me da coraje ver a niñas en viernes por la noche trabajando”, le dije a Ana. “Coraje. Odio. Bastante.”

“Uno batallando con un trabajo pendejo y ella sonrie
Everett Darling
I believe Herta Müller intended the staccato and jarring writing effect to symbolize the plight of the German minority in Romania. But I found it too unpleasant to get into, or to feel moved by it. I dont know if she considered that when writing this, but for me I couldnt see past it. I found myself either trailing off the page following my unrelated thoughts, or re-reading the writing over and over, like I was doing some sort of competence exercise. I dont consider myself a pleasure-reader, as ...more
I had a difficult time wrapping my arms around this bleak narrative and mystifying (haunting) prose.
Perhaps because it was sandwiched between reading Nabokov's Lolita and McEwan's Black Dogs, the writing style did not engage me as I thought it would... given my love of prosaic writing.
I found it difficult to follow the staccato style embedded in the cold and grim landscape.
I got lost in the bleakness and oppression and was unable to soar with the promised prose.
Another reviewer here that sai
Plot summary, version #1
Since Windisch made the decision to emigrate, he sees the end everywhere in the village. The waves of grass lift him above the ground. The earth frog looked with my wife's eyes. "Watch how your daughter walks," he says. "If the toes of her shoes point outwards when she puts her feet on the ground, then it's happened." The owl cries behind the trees. It's looking for a roof. Behind the door Windisch heard the stubborn, regular moaning of his wife. Like a sewing machine. "H
This is an odd book to have been written by a Nobel laureate. Seriously it reads in parts like a Dick and Jane reader. The Nobel committee, in their citation, refer to the “frankness of [her] prose” and there will be not a few people who’ll pick up this book and wonder what got into the heads of those who nominated her in the first place. On one level she is very easy to read. There are no complicated words although a brief glossary at the back of the book explains the significance of three term ...more
Neil McCrea
Herta Muller won the nobel prize for literature. I thought I should read one of her books. The Passport is a very short novel. Muller writes in very short sentences. The novel is about German speaking Romanians. Many of them wish to get a passport to leave Ceaucescu's Romania for Germany. The novel contains many non-sequitors of tangential import. I once met Ceaucescu on a visit he made to Canada. The novel contains touches of surrealism and dream imagery. The woodpecker on my coffee table taps ...more
Thomas Hübner

When in 2009 the Nobel Prize Committee awarded the Prize for Literature to Herta Müller, whose opus magnum The Hunger Angel had just appeared in print, I thought that at least this one time the jurors in Stockholm had shown not only that they are able of a decent choice, but that sometimes they have even a sense of timing. Because The Hunger Angel marked the point when Herta Müller got also outside the German-speaking world the attention she deserves. Her first
Really short sentences, chapters well accommodated within a page, and intoto, just about 96 pages cover to cover, 'The Passport' by Herta Muller is a surprisingly thin book. It's so thin that I double checked to make sure that this was not an abridged version. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn't prejudice, but Nobel Laureates don't and can't write thin books, right? Nevertheless it was a heavy duty stuff that I couldn’t have otherwise handled if it were a little longer.

I finished the novel, and it did
جمل قصيرة تشكل لوحة فسيفسائية عن الوطن حين نفر منه لابد من حمامة تضحي من اجل ان يمر السرب عن تلك الحمامة التي تفر الي الصيد لان دور الضحية لابد ان يصعد به احد من الكواليس الي خشبة المسرح لابد للوطن السعيد ان يمر عبر نفق مظلم :-)
Imagine a small, claustrophobic and corrupt community that offers only one release through a passport and movement abroad. Add to the misery the environment of a dictatorship and the prospect that life in the West might not be much better and it is a world of pain and disappointment that tests the human resolve to the limit.

Muller uses the story of a miller and his attempt to get his wife and daughter passports to get out of the Romanian village into Germany as a tale that could be applied to th
Matthew Trevithick
I finished Herta Muller's "The Passport" a few days ago. I did not particularly enjoy this book, though it won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009, so I'm hard pressed to say it is not worth reading - it is. It is written in incredibly brief ("terse") sentences that are occasionally connected, but often not. It is a quick read, under 100 pages long.

The book gives the reader a despairing view into a post-World War II German village in Romania that is suffering by any measure - its people are d
Jan 25, 2015 Monique rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Angus
Recommended to Monique by: Patrick

Originally posted here.


Since reading The Land of Green Plums last year, purportedly Müller's most outstanding work, I had been looking forward to reading something of hers again. When I realized that finding a copy of The Appointment locally was an exercise in futility, I went and bought one from Book Depository, which was shipped late last year. I hadn’t even thought of reading that one yet when a bookish friend gifted me with a copy of The Passport for Christmas, and that one being the sho
I picked up this book because it was the Nobel Prize for Literature winner from 2009, and I thought that that would mean it was good. It wasn't ... at least not for me.

I found it neither "beautiful" nor "haunting" as the back cover promised. It is about a German family who is trying to get passports to leave Ceausescu's Romania. In order to do so, they must bribe -- with worldly goods and flesh -- officials. This I also got from the back cover, because it took a long time for me to get it from t
Evasive, repetitive, bleak. It's about the systemic soul-crushing routines of corrupt small town kleptocrats empowered by a distant, uncaring dictator. The language reflects this world and though it is as sometimes as impenetrable as I presume Ceausescu's Romania was, it occasionally gives way under its weight and reveals some beautiful and terrifying moments.

Much of the destruction takes place off the page. Even when a vase is knocked over and broken, we are shown the hand hitting the vase and
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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 Hunger Angel The Appointment Nadirs Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger

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“Windisch hears a leaf on the stones in the hallway. It's scratching on the stones. The wall is long and white. Windisch closes his eyes. He feels the wall growing on his face. The lime burns his forehead. A stone in the lime opens its mouth. The apple tree trembles. Its leaves are ears. They listen. The apple tree drenches its green apples.” 2 likes
“He's looking into the night, in case a shadow comes to listen and look.” 1 likes
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