Lara's Reviews > The Land of Green Plums

The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller
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I don't really know how to rate this book yet, and I may actually give it a rating by next week. I had originally picked up this book because I don't know much about Eastern Europe, or it's history. While reading a fiction book probably won't help change my knowledge on the history or political situation, it was at least a start.

The book was set in Romania during Ceausescu's reign of terror. I honestly didn't know much about this time in history, which also was probably a poor choice on my part. It is set in the German speaking part of Romania, and the author herself is Romanian and had moved to Germany.

They style of writing is a stream of consciousness, more like snippets from a diary or journal. However the scenes don't really seem to gel or connect well together. There's no real proper flow to them, a style I'd like to say is intentional, mostly due to what I have read about this time period since I picked up the book. I can understand why many people like this, but I found it very difficult to read and really be able to have a solid sense of what was going on. I never let people read my own journal, much for the same reason.

The book started with an interesting hook that peaked my interest: When we don't speak, we become unbearable; when we do, we make fools of ourselves. It gave me such high hopes for this book. I don't think it was a matter of translation for the book that was the problem for me, mostly because sentences like these and others in the book did have a certain beauty and truth to them that would have only been in the book had they been translated properly.

I had gotten lost in the story and couldn't seem to actually figure out what it was supposed to be about. It seems like most people were able to, with the reviews that I had read, which in turn makes me feel kind of dumb, but I don't know how much I was supposed to think critically to approach this book. With the stream of consciousness style of writing I found that I was lost in what each section was about and how it correlated to the one after it and what I was going to need to remember for the next one. While I appreciate having some work and effort to put a book into perspective, this book overall took far too much effort to actually make it properly work for me to give me a desire to want to continue reading it at this time. Maybe when I don't have as much on my mind and can actually put more time and effort into this book, will I pick it up again.
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