Herta Muller, is as the title suggests, a writer. A great one, at that. She was born on August the 17th in a Romanian village, in the Western part of the country- a region where, historically, large numbers of german ethnics have lived. Her father in the army, in the SS Waffen in the Second World War and her mother was sent to a forced labor camp in the Soviet Union for five years- as a result of the conclusion of the War and the communist regime that was implemented in Romania. Naturally, Herta Muller had become facscinated- in a fearing sort of way- with forced labor camps and their effects on the people sent there.
She studied in Timisoara- germanistic and Romanian Studies and spent some time working as a translator in an engineering factory. Her calling was to be a writer. She published her first book in 1982- Niederungen. In 1982, she moved to West Berlin with her then-husband, Richard Wagner, where they both still live.
Other works include titles such as The Land of Green Plums, The Passport and perhapt the most haunting of them all, The Hunger Angel ( original title is Atemschaukel). This book tells the story of a young German boy, sent to a gulag in 1945. Based on the stories that Oskar Pastior has told her on his time in a gulag, Herta Muller managed to recreate that world in a haunting manner.
Herta Muller has received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009, after publishing The Hunger Angel. It’s considered by many that Herta Muller’s work shows influences from Franz Kafka. She is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most impressive contemporary writers.
We have selected some quotes from her work, which might determine you to read her books, if you haven’t already.
“Women always need other women to lean on. They become friends in order to hate each other better. The more they hate each other, the more inseparable they become.”
― Herta Muller, The Land of Green Plums
“No words are adequate for the suffering caused by hunger. To this day I have to show hunger that I escaped his grasp. Ever since I stopped having to go hungry, I literally eat life itself. And when I eat, I am locked up inside the taste of eating. For sixty years, ever since I came back from the camp, I have been eating against starvation.”
― Herta Muller, The Hunger Angel
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