She dared ask questions. . . The 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature goes to author Herta Müller,
an ethnic German who was born and raised in Romania. The Nobel committee honored her, “who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed”
The focus of her work is on the trials of life under the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, whose reign ended with his overthrow and execution 20 years ago.
In offering thanks for the award, she noted that her fiction was shaped by living under the brutal Ceausescu regime.
“It’s the topic of all my books,” said Müller, who immigrated to Germany in 1987. “I believe that literature always goes precisely there where the damage to a person has been done. . . . I didn’t choose this topic, it was thrust upon me.”
Müller worked as a translator in a Romanian factory, but was fired for not cooperating with the secret police, and in the 1970’s she was a member of a group of dissident writers who opposed the Ceausescu regime.
Her first book, a collection of short stories depicting the difficulties of living in a small village like her own, was published in 1982, but was censored by Romanian authorities. An uncensored version was smuggled into Germany, finding critical acclaim.
After a second book, she was prohibited from publishing in Romania, leading to her immigration to Germany.
Mueller’s parents were members of the German-speaking minority in Romania and her father served in the Waffen SS during World War II. After the war ended, many German Romanians were deported to the Soviet Union in 1945, including her mother, who spent five years in a work camp in what is now Ukraine. Müller’s work speaks to being a refugee, being displaced, being without a home.
She is the author of 19 books, and only four – including The Land of the Green Plums, and, most recently “The Appointment” (written in 2001)– have been translated and published in the United States. After winning the Nobel Prize this year, you can bet that will change. Her most recent book, Atemschaukel,
was published in August of 2009, and depicts the exile of German Romanians. My mom called and wants to order it from German Amazon and have Rachel bring it home at Christmas.
Being German myself, and an immigrant, I am very interested in her books. Just the topic of being dispossessed. Something I can relate to. And I think so many others think of themselves as not belonging. I think of biblical characters never finding a home and specifically Moses trying to get to the Promised Land.
I quickly went to my library to check out books by Herta Muller. It took a while, but I found two of them – those listed above—and have them on hold. It looks like 9 other people were influenced by the Nobel award as there are 9 other holds so far. There is only one copy of each of her work.
I also checked on Amazon and there are the four English translations of her work then the German ones, which I can thanks to my mom and dad read. http://www.amazon.com/Herta-M%C3%BCller/e/B001JOP1OQ
|I love reading books from authors who have experiences outside of the United States. Like the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature winner from France, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio. I did find his work translated and at the library.I am guessing that now the library will be carrying more of her work now that she won the top prize in literature.|
|I so want to share good books with others, to tell them about books I am reading. Books beyond the popular, books beyond the top sellers. Books that win Nobel Prizes. Books about culture, justice, humanity, faith, life, refugees. There is something rich and beautiful about a good book. That teaches about life. Lessons about humanity yet without moralizing.|
For more information see the following articles: