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The Hunger Angel

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The Hunger Angel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A masterful new novel from the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize, hailed for depicting the "landscape of the dispossessed" with "the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose" (Nobel Prize Committee)

It was an icy morning in January 1945 when the patrol came for seventeen-year-old Leo Auberg to deport him to a camp in the Soviet Union. Leo would spend the next five years in a coke processing plant, shoveling coal, lugging bricks, mixing mortar, and battling the relentless calculus of hunger that governed the labor colony: one shovel load of coal is worth one gram of bread.

In her new novel, Nobel laureate Herta Müller calls upon her unique combination of poetic intensity and dispassionate precision to conjure the distorted world of the labor camp in all its physical and moral absurdity. She has given Leo the language to express the inexpressible, as hunger sharpens his senses into an acuity that is both hallucinatory and profound. In scene after disorienting scene, the most ordinary objects accrue tender poignancy as they acquire new purpose—a gramophone box serves as a suitcase, a handkerchief becomes a talisman, an enormous piece of casing pipe functions as a lovers' trysting place. The heart is reduced to a pump, the breath mechanized to the rhythm of a swinging shovel, and coal, sand, and snow have a will of their own. Hunger becomes an insatiable angel who haunts the camp, but also a bare-knuckled sparring partner, delivering blows that keep Leo feeling the rawest connection to life.

Müller has distilled Leo's struggle into words of breathtaking intensity that take us on a journey far beyond the Gulag and into the depths of one man's soul.

Review:

"Müller (The Land of Green Plums), winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature, introduces readers to Leo Auberg, a young closeted homosexual German-Romanian who recalls in powerfully vivid vignettes the delirium of the five 'skinandbones' years he spent in a Soviet forced labor camp. Charged with 'rebuilding' the war-torn Soviet Union, workers struggle under the specter of the figurative 'hunger angel' and the work camp's absurd mathematics of misery, which hold that '1 shovel load = 1 gram bread.' Leo's voice is wry and poetic, and Müller's evocative language makes the abstract concrete as her narrator's sanity is stretched; Leo posits that 'Hunger is an object,' and that death lives in the hollows of the cheeks as a white hare. Indeed, Leo's grimly surreal meditations on hunger seem all the more true for their strangeness; the cold slag in which he toils smells 'a little like lilacs' and his 'sweaty neck like honey tea.' Juxtaposed with Leo's musings are observations on life in the camp, and brief dramas with other workers. Under Müller's influence, the subject matter not only begs a reader's sympathy, but deftly illuminates the complex psychological state of starvation and displacement, wherein the physical world is reconstituted according to the skewed architecture of oppression and suffering. Boehm's translation preserves the integrity of Müller's gorgeous prose, and Leo's despondent reveries are at once tragic and engrossing. (Apr. 24)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Herta Müller is the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the European Literature Prize. She is the author of, among other books, The Land of Green Plums and The Appointment. Born in Romania in 1953, Müller lost her job as a teacher and suffered repeated threats after refusing to cooperate with Ceausescu's secret police. She succeeded in emigrating in 1987 and now lives in Berlin.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805093018
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Muller, Herta
Author:
Boehm, Philip
Author:
Mller, Herta
Author:
Mueller, Herta
Publisher:
Metropolitan Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Historical
Edition Description:
Trade Paper with Flaps
Publication Date:
20120424
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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The Hunger Angel Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Metropolitan Books - English 9780805093018 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Müller (The Land of Green Plums), winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature, introduces readers to Leo Auberg, a young closeted homosexual German-Romanian who recalls in powerfully vivid vignettes the delirium of the five 'skinandbones' years he spent in a Soviet forced labor camp. Charged with 'rebuilding' the war-torn Soviet Union, workers struggle under the specter of the figurative 'hunger angel' and the work camp's absurd mathematics of misery, which hold that '1 shovel load = 1 gram bread.' Leo's voice is wry and poetic, and Müller's evocative language makes the abstract concrete as her narrator's sanity is stretched; Leo posits that 'Hunger is an object,' and that death lives in the hollows of the cheeks as a white hare. Indeed, Leo's grimly surreal meditations on hunger seem all the more true for their strangeness; the cold slag in which he toils smells 'a little like lilacs' and his 'sweaty neck like honey tea.' Juxtaposed with Leo's musings are observations on life in the camp, and brief dramas with other workers. Under Müller's influence, the subject matter not only begs a reader's sympathy, but deftly illuminates the complex psychological state of starvation and displacement, wherein the physical world is reconstituted according to the skewed architecture of oppression and suffering. Boehm's translation preserves the integrity of Müller's gorgeous prose, and Leo's despondent reveries are at once tragic and engrossing. (Apr. 24)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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