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Philip Boehm
The Hunger Angel
 
 
Author
Herta Muller. Philip Boehm, trans.
Publisher Metropolitan  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.5 x 5.75 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780805093018
Pages/Publication Date 291/2012
Daedalus Item Code 41681
List Price: $26.00
Sale Price: $4.98
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Description
(Winner of the 2013 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize) It was an icy morning in January 1945 when the patrol came for 17-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. After this prose poem appeared in German in 2009, Herta Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize for her body of work; the Swedish Academy hailed the book for depicting the "landscape of the dispossessed" with "the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose." Müller employs poetic intensity and dispassionate precision to conjure the distorted world of the labor camp in all its physical and moral absurdity, as hunger sharpens Leo's senses into an acuity that is both hallucinatory and profound. 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.

"A wonderful, passionate, poetic work of literature.... Herta Muller is a writer who releases great emotional power through a highly sophisticated, image studded, and often expressionistic prose."—NYReview of Books

"This is not just a good novel, it is a great one.... Müller is through and through a stylist. Her novel is written in a taut idiomatic German, which breaks into paragraphs of wrenching, Rilkean lyricism.... A masterpiece."—Financial Times (London)

 
 
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