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3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,411 Ratings  ·  325 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.

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Published 2009 by Hörbuch Hamburg
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Apr 19, 2016 William1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 under horribly 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-
Jim Fonseca
Jun 20, 2016 Jim Fonseca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Through the story of one young man, this Nobel Prize winning author tells us the relatively unknown story of thousands of Romanians of German descent who, apparently in retaliation for WW II, were forced into Russian work camps. These people were not prisoners of war; they were men and women rounded up from their homes who lived for five years in borderline starvation eating only two meals of watery cabbage soup and a slice of bread every day. They were so hungry that they traded slices of bread ...more
Jun 03, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanian
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
Dec 13, 2015 ·Karen· rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 18, 2012 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2015 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2013 Wayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
May 02, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
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
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...
Fuad Takrouri
Jun 20, 2015 Fuad Takrouri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephen Durrant
Sep 27, 2012 Stephen Durrant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lada Moskalets
Jul 20, 2015 Lada Moskalets rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
أحمد شاكر
أرى أنه من العبث أن يبدي أي إنسان اعجابه بكتاب يتناول معاناة إنسان أو أي كائن حي. الحكاية مؤلمة بقدر ألم ..البشرية كلها. الجوع والبرد والقمل والموت؛ العبودية
Andrea Poulain
Jun 30, 2016 Andrea Poulain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

El título de este libro tiene una historia curiosa. En alemán es Atemschaukel, que significa algo como «osculación de la respiración» (es una de esas expresiones difíciles de traducir) y en inglés es The Huger Angel. En español, los editores decidieron mantener el título como la primera frase del libro que es Todo lo que tengo lo llevo conmigo. A lo largo de libro, esa frase hace perfecto sentido. Leopolg Auberg, el protagonista, pasó cuatro años en un cam
Jan 07, 2016 Jorge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
En el pasado la actividad literaria se encontraba limitada en muchos sentidos, ya que tanto los escritores como el público en general, en especial los lectores, estaba restringido a una clase social (alta y media-alta), una raza (blanca) y un género (masculino). Ahora debido a la evolución y a las nuevas condiciones de la sociedad, así como al momento histórico que vivimos con sus concomitantes y afortunados estímulos nos ofrece, entre otras cosas, una gran diversidad en la oferta literaria. Una ...more
Feb 24, 2014 Mikimbizii rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
“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
Andrea Paterson
Around the World: Romania

I really wanted to like this. It had some impressive moments, some images that caused my stomach to lurch in surprise and I have to give Muller credit for the unique style of this novel. But I just didn't like it. Frankly, I was bored. I couldn't connect to the protagonist, and the level of detail provided about every speck of dust and every scrap of food became wearing and frustrating. There isn't really a moving plot here--just poetic descriptions, images, and microsco
Oct 08, 2014 hayatem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رواية
"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
Apr 25, 2013 Bjorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany, romania
"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
Lucy Ibn al-Rashid

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
Mar 23, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Giorgi Baskhajauri
საბჭოთა რეჟიმი ყოველი ადამიანის ერთ სიბრტყეზე დასაყვანად მუშაობდა, კერძოდ 1 ნიჩბის მოქნევა=1 გრამ პურს და ეს ცნება ყველას უნდა შეესისხლხორცებინა, ვინც ამ იდეის მიღმა დიდ ბოროტებას და რეჟიმის ფანდს ხედავდა უდიდესი აგრესიის მსხვერპლი ხდებოდა, როგორც სისტემის, ისე ადამიანთა მხრიდან „არცერთი უსაქმური და მუქთახორა ჩვენს გვერდით“(ფრაზა ჩემი მშობლიური სოფლის ერთ-ერთი სახლის კედელზეა შემორჩენილი) მსგავსი დევიზებით ხელმძღვანელობდნენ სისტემის მონები.
ნიჩბის მოქნევის და 1 გრამი პურის ტოლობას ბანაკში ყველას
Jessica Bang
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 04, 2013 GloriaA rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Aug 27, 2012 Jeva rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Three nights in a row I was haunted by the same dream. Once again I was riding home through the clouds on a white pig. But this time when I looked down, the land had a different appearance, there was no sea along its edge. And no mountains in the middle, no Carpathians. Only flat land, and not a single village. Nothing but wild oats everywhere, already autumn-yellow.
Who switched my country, I asked.
The hunger angel looked at me from the sky and said: America.
Where did all the people go, I ask
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  • In Times of Fading Light
  • Das siebte Kreuz
  • Als wir träumten
  • Tauben im Gras
  • Der Untertan
  • Patterns of Childhood
  • The Blindness of the Heart
  • The Prospector
  • Day In Day Out
  • The Island of Second Sight
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  • Die gerettete Zunge: Geschichte einer Jugend
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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...

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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.” 137 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.” 73 likes
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