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Herta Müller "Everything I Own I Carry with Me"

Herta Müller: "Everything I Own I Carry with Me" (Atemschaukel) Novel.

Carl Hanser Verlag

English excerpt

The book: After many years, Herta Müller presents her new novel – a powerfully lyrical account of the fate of the Transylvanian Saxons – the ‘Siebenbürgener’– through the life story of a young man in the Russian Gulags.
Romania at the end of WWII, and the German section of the population lives in constant fear. 'It was 15th January 1945, at 3 am, when the patrol came for me. It was already minus 15 degrees and the temperature was dropping steadily. This is the beginning of the young man’s story; his grandmother's last words to him are I know you'll return.
A truck takes him to the holding camp before he begins the long journey to Russia. 'The words I know you’ll return would become my heart’s accomplice and my comrade-in-arms against hunger. Because I did return, I can say this: words such as these can keep you alive.'

Herta Müller's superb new novel tells of a harrowing experience which will leave an indelible stamp on its survivor for the rest of his life. Her book stems from interviews with the poet Oskar Pastior (who was imprisoned from 1945 to 1949) and other Gulag survivors.

(Here you can read and hear some poems by Pastior and by Müller)

The author: Herta Müller was born in Nitzkydorf, Romania in 1953. She lives in Berlin. Her works have won her numerous awards, among them the Impac Dublin Literary Award in 1998. Previous publications at Hanser include Der König verneigt sich und tötet (2003), Die blassen Herren mit den Mokkatassen (2005), Herztier (revised edition 2007), and Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger (revised edition 2009). Update 8 Oct 2009: Herta Müller has been named by the Swedish Academy as the winner of the 2009 Nobel prize for literature

Photo © Annette Pohnert / Carl Hanser Verlag - let's talk european