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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,885 Ratings  ·  388 Reviews
Rumänien 1945: Der Zweite Weltkrieg ist zu Ende. Die deutsche Bevölkerung lebt in Angst. "Es war 3 Uhr in der Nacht zum 15. Januar 1945, als die Patrouille mich holte. Die Kälte zog an, es waren -15º C." So beginnt ein junger Mann den Bericht über seine Deportation in ein Lager nach Russland. Anhand seines Lebens erzählt Herta Müller von dem Schicksal der deutschen Bevölke ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published July 2011 by Fischer (Tb.), Frankfurt (first published 2009)
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Anna These coats were called ”pufoaică”:

It is used in Romanian; it does come from the Russian ”fufaika”, but the…more
These coats were called ”pufoaică”:

It is used in Romanian; it does come from the Russian ”fufaika”, but the original word changed to ”pufoaică”, and that is how it became widespread. Also, it is linked to the word ”puf”, which means feather. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 28, 2014 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 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
May 31, 2015 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
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
May 30, 2015 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
Jun 18, 2012 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.
Greg Brozeit
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my earliest, strongest childhood memories is when my family picked up my uncle, who had been a political prisoner in East Germany, from the hospital where he had been placed after his release, like many others in his position, after his freedom had been bought by the West German government. Although I never personally experienced such treatment, I was inculcated at an early age with a deep, repellant understanding of the fact that there were people like my uncle who had been wrongly incar ...more
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
Jun 26, 2015 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
Apr 12, 2012 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
Feb 21, 2013 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.
H Wesselius
Aug 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely read fiction but this one sparked my interest given its subject material. However, it was almost impossible to read with any interest or desire. With only short stories or pictures, there was very little character development to have the reader feel any sympathy or understanding for the difficulty life in a soviet labour camp. Furthermore there wasn't any continuity in the story which made it difficult for the reader to gain an appreciation for life in a labour camp. Thus, as a vehicle ...more
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...
Bogdan Raț
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Amazing. Breathtaking.

„Când n-aveam nimic de gătit, lăsam fumul să-mi șerpuiască prin gură. Îmi trăgeam limba-ndărăt și mestecam în gol. Mâncam salivă cu fum de seară și mă gândeam la cârnați fripți. Când n-aveam nimic de gătit treceam prin apropierea oalelor prefăcându-mă că înainte de culcare vreau să mă spăl pe dinți la fântână. Dar înainte de a-mi vârî periuța de dinți în gură, mâncam de două ori. Cu foamea ochilor mâncam focul galben, iar cu foamea din cerul gurii, fumul.”

„Rațiile gata cânt
Fuad Takrouri
Jun 13, 2015 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 26, 2012 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
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
Lada Moskalets
Jul 18, 2015 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
Dec 13, 2013 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
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Всичко свое нося със себе си”, “Ангелът на глада”, “Люлката на дишането”, “Люлката на гласа”- все различни преводачески решения за заглавието на книгата, ни показват различните приближавания и различните преживявания на света, в който Х. Мюлер ни въвежда. Някак рязко, леко недиректно, с усеащане повече, отколкото с исторически факти, често интуитивно. Не съвсем такова е самото протичане на книгата. Съществуването на героите и на останалите мимоходом споменати или въвлечени хора често се свежда ...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
Feb 18, 2013 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
Apr 25, 2013 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
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Müller’s The Hunger Angel I would say falls into the genre of concentration camp literature, which may come in either non-fiction or fiction. This is a work of fiction, though based on the true life of Müller’s friend Oskar Pastior. The prisoners of the concentration camp here are ethnic Germans from Romania, taken and deported to the Soviet Union after the end of the Second World War. Seventeen year old Leo Auberg is the central character, and we follow him for the five years of his internment, ...more
May 16, 2012 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
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2 1/2. I seldom finish books that I don't like. I finished this one only out of respect for the victims of Soviet torture (GULAG and sim.) - ethnic Germans from countries other than Germany in this case. I deeply dislike the pseudo-poetic overtones of Müller and the visible lack of research (some of the Russian names and words are absurd; I still cannot take the damned inexistent "pufoaika" - фуфайка, что ли? - out of my head). And talking about lack, I need to say that I strongly dislike also t ...more
Bart Van Overmeire
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: van-mij
Een tour de force, een Nobelprijs waardig.  In een zeer poëtische taal beschrijft Müller de lotgevallen van Roemeense Volksduitsers die op het einde van WO II naar een Russisch werkkamp gestuurd worden. Zeer sterk.
Mohammad Sadegh Rasooli
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رمان
A poetic novel! That's the best description for this novel.
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  • Der Turm: Geschichte aus einem versunkenen Land
  • 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
  • The German Lesson
  • Wanderer, kommst du nach Spa...
  • Die gerettete Zunge: Geschichte einer Jugend
  • Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit
  • Der Hals der Giraffe
  • The Invention of Curried Sausage
  • The Artificial Silk Girl
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.” 162 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.” 80 likes
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