The Passport
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The Passport

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  802 ratings  ·  139 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 stoic...more
Paperback, 105 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by Serpent's Tail (first published January 1st 1986)
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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...more
"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...more
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
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
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.
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
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
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...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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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 don´t know if she considered that when writing this, but for me I couldn´t 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 don´t consider myself a pleasure-reader,...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...more
Mar 18, 2013 Monique rated it 4 of 5 stars
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 short...more
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...more
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...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
mai ahmd

تجربتي الأولى مع هيرتا موللر ، اعتمدت هيرتا جملا قصيرة في روايتها تلك الجمل التي تشكل مشاهد قصيرة تبدو غير مترابطة وعليك أن تلملم هذه القطع لتضعها في اللوحة لتراها بصورتها النهائية وعلى قدر ما أحببت تلك المشاهد وخيال هيرتا المجنح وأسلوبها السوريالي إلا أنني وجدت صعوبة كبيرة في ربط تلك القطع ببعضها البعض
هي رواية صعبة حقيقة ولولا أنني قرأت هنا وهناك عن الرواية ربما لم أكن لأفهم المغزى من تلك المشاهد

على إنني أعتبرها تجربة فريدة ومميزة وأسلوب هيرتا موللر بالغ الرهافة

Renée Damstra
Tja. De taal is nog altijd prachtig. En komt tot leven als je het hardop leest, het is een soort taal om hardop te lezen. Ook omdat je geen zin mag missen. Korte zinnen, poetisch, suggestief en toch komen ze keihard binnen, raak.

Misschien omdat het onderwerp of perspectief me minder raakt dan in Nadirs (waar vanuit een kind werd beschreven), trek ik er twee sterren van af voor de troosteloosheid ervan. Bij Muller is het nooit gezellig, niemand is gelukkig of zelfs maar vrolijk. Op iedere pagina...more
Farhan Khalid
He sees the end everywhere in the village

And time is standing still for those who want to stay

My head is a clock

A man is nothing but a pheasant in the world

Men are stupid, says the night watchman

The tear is empty. Fill it with water. Preferably with rain water

Eyes lie, says the night watchman

That night her sleep was so distant, that no dream could find her

Women deceive, says the night watchman

He felt all the loneliness of the years

His life was transparent. Empty

The song floats through the apple...more
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 :-)
Mickey Diwakar
कई उपन्यास मैंने पढ़े है परन्तु आज तक ऐसी लेखन शैली का उपन्यास नहीं पढ़ा है| स्लेटी रंग की रचना इस उपन्यास में की गयी है| आदमी इस दुनिया में एक बड़े तितर की तरह लाचार है यह रोमानिया की कहावत है जो की उपन्यास का शीर्षक भी है अंग्रेजी में इसका शीर्षक बदल दिया गया है द पासपोर्ट के नाम से है| रोमानिया के गाँव की कहानी है और देश में चल रहे तानाशाही की झलक भी मिलती है| गाँव के अन्धविश्वास और लाचारी का वर्णन इसमें बहुत चतुरता से दिया गया है| हिंदी में यह उपन्यास कांच के आंसू शीर्षक से वाणी प्रकाशन द्वारा...more
The Passport is a beautiful, haunting novel whose subject is a German village in Romania caught between the stifling hopelessness of Ceausescu’s dictatorship and the glittering temptations of the West. Stories from the past are woven together with the problems Windisch, the village miller, faces after he applies for permission to migrate to West Germany. Herta Müller (Herta Mueller) describes with poetic attention the dreams and superstitions, conflicts and oppression of a forgotten region, the...more
Gerry Kingham
Elsewhere, writing about words and language, Muller declared that, "only when one perception steals from another, one object seizes and uses the substance of another - only when that which is impossible in real life has become plausible in the sentence can the sentence holds own before reality".

In this novella, Muller's quirky, kleptomanic prose style allows the reader to observe village-life in Comrade Ceausescu's Romania through a magical distorting lens. I liked it very much on this level. On...more
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Purchase Novelty Passports,ID cards,drivers license,Permits,Visas 1 1 Apr 30, 2014 12:14AM  
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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
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
“Before the war an apple tree had stood behind the church. It was an apple tree that ate its own apples.” 0 likes
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