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The Fox Was Ever the Hunter
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June 2018 - Romania > Second half of the book

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message 1: by Melanie (last edited May 25, 2018 01:42AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
So, how do we all feel about the book.


message 2: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments okey dokey. I finished tonight and wrote my review. Mueller's poetic rhythm and chopping style isn't for me. The clarity seemed to increase in the second half but I'm not sure if that was because I became accustomed to her style or that her approach was more focused. Reading the summary before starting the novel would have been extremely helpful, I normally don't do this as I like to jump in and let the story unfold, surprising me. This wasn't the book to take that approach. One shouldn't have to read the summary to make the plot or the writers style fully comprehensible. The words she used were easy to understand, the characters were easy to interpret, where it got dicey for me was her chosen off center approach to the message. I like to end a novel with a strong sense of the plot. Silly me. I enjoyed an marked several phrases that I thought beautiful and or poignant. I am glad I read TFWETH, I'm never disappointed to experience a new topic or style.


message 3: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments PS- I still have a question. I know we aren't to write anything that may spoil the plot for another, so when someone, or several finish, I would like to message and discuss.


Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Well, that was ... interesting. Holy "metaphor", is mostly what springs to mind. I mean I have read an older (1980ies) Mueller many years ago and I remember her poetic language, but I cannot remember it being like that.

First: I could tell why she did certain things, she wants to illustrate the despair and hopelessness of the country at the point where we meet the characters. Everything is broken. Everything is falling apart, rusting, dirty, even nature is against you. I get what she is trying to do but it is a bit like watching a play from behind the scenes: It takes the magic away.

Second: She totally forgot to tell the story for the most part of the book and then at the last 40 or so pages, she remembered and then we were done.

Not my favourite!


Linda (lindaleehall) | 30 comments I know what you are saying, Mel, but I did feel the terror relentlessly building. But the ending seemed too easy and abrupt.


Britta Böhler | 51 comments Rereading this book reminded me why I always feel that I'm just too stupid to understand Herta Müller's work... But like the first time, I enjoyed the language, the novel reads like a poem (for me at least), and I can appreciate that up to a point. But it's just not quite my cup of tea...


message 7: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Britta wrote: "Rereading this book reminded me why I always feel that I'm just too stupid to understand Herta Müller's work... But like the first time, I enjoyed the language, the novel reads like a poem (for me ..."

I don't think it's stupidity Britta, it's a form of obtuse thinking, like a Picasso painting. I think one either has or gets in the right mind frame or doesn't.


message 8: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Linda wrote: "I know what you are saying, Mel, but I did feel the terror relentlessly building. But the ending seemed too easy and abrupt."

Melanie wrote: "Well, that was ... interesting. Holy "metaphor", is mostly what springs to mind. I mean I have read an older (1980ies) Mueller many years ago and I remember her poetic language, but I cannot rememb..."

I don't know that I felt tension except when they were in hiding. Other than that it felt like a straight line.

Kathrin mentioned in a comment on my review that she read Hunger Angel and doesn't remember it being like this one. I may try one of her older books to see if she was less stoned when writing those. 😉


Kathrin I just finished the book, but barely. As I mentioned in a comment on Stacy's review, I read and adored the "Hunger Angel" and remember from that book Mueller's beautiful prose. Once again, I think she is a beautiful writer, but in the "Fox" her prose got in the way of the telling the story and for me the storytelling is more important. In the "Hunger Angel" I think she is able to balance out the plot with the prose.

And Britta, I had the same feeling reading/listening to it.


Justyna M | 14 comments After having read a few pages I was not sure about the language- it was a bit too poetic etc, , but about page 20 I was fully appreciating the language, like in this section about malnourished children: " The (baby) teeth don't wiggle long, they drop into the children's hands while they're talking. The children toss them over their shoulders and behind their backs into the grass, today one, tomorrow another (...) Only after the tooth has disappeared in the grass do they look back and call it childhood." I did not go into this book (and it was definitely the right approach) expecting a thriller / a plot driven novel (the blurb was suggesting that to me a bit) or character study, but rather a book about how it felt to live in a dictatorship country where anything you said or did could result in you being arrested and worse, and I think Mueller showed it perfectly with every scene or dialogue (but I definitely agree that the ending was a bit rushed)


Justyna M | 14 comments I also think that I might like this book a bit more than e.g. a UK reader because I was growing up in a communist Poland and so many things seem very familiar and when e.g. talking about tension in this book, I did not think about the "plot" tension/ when some of the characters went into hiding for instance, but rather tension of living in a place where you have to mind your every word or pretend that you are fully approving of the political system, I think that made a MASSIVE difference in the way I appreciated the book (including small things mentioned in the book like winter coats with fox collars that I remember from my childhood- fox head and legs on them- which seems a bit creepy to me now... )


message 12: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Justyna wrote: "After having read a few pages I was not sure about the language- it was a bit too poetic etc, , but about page 20 I was fully appreciating the language, like in this section about malnourished chil..."

I agree that this book didn't feel lke a thriller or felt intense like the summary stated it would. And, I can see where a person that grew up under a communist dictatorship would have completely different views and emotions than those of us that grew up in free nations (W Europe and the US). I cannot imagine having to watch every word!!! I am outspoken even by American standards. We had the rabbits and foxes with legs and tails in Alaska too. The whole rabbit foot lucky key chain. Pretty sick.


message 13: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Stacey (wanderlustforwords) wrote: "Linda wrote: "I know what you are saying, Mel, but I did feel the terror relentlessly building. But the ending seemed too easy and abrupt."

Melanie wrote: "Well, that was ... interesting. Holy "me..."


You wrote something I couldn't, her prose did block the story. Her style didn't feel flowery to me but books where it's evident that the author is attempting to use beautiful prose that just ends up feeling forced and overwhelming, also end up over-shadowing the story. I'm thankful for your comments because without them I wouldn't have looked past TFIETH to explore other Mueller novels and now I will.


message 14: by Paula (new)

Paula Mota I tried a couple of chapters but I couldn't get into it in spite of my high expectations, so I had to DNF it. I love beautiful writing and I don't need a real plot, but nothing made sense to me, it seemed just like random words put together.


Marie (marieemonaghan) | 59 comments I also found this something of a difficult read. There is a lot of interesting prose, some beautiful turns of phrase, some clever metaphors, but in the end this all left me feeling quite detached from the story itself. The author is the overwhelming presence in this book rather than the characters or plot.

I would definitely be open to reading more of her work, though, & will probably pick up some essays next.


message 16: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Marie thank you for expressing the feelings I couldn’t! I felt detached as well!


message 17: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo | 37 comments I finally finished before July! I probably echo much of what has been said in that this was a difficult one for me. I appreciated much of the language and metaphor used and would mark lines and phrases that really conveyed the mood of the period but I was never fully engaged in the book. The sense of menace and fear was done very well as well as the privations and I do think the book will stay with me but as to actually enjoying it, not so much.


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