Serpent's Tail £7.99
The Passport, By Herta Müller
Sunday 06 December 2009
Herta Müller provides a masterclass here in sparse, clear prose, and conveys the bleakness of humanity, with the occasional touch of dark, bitter magic – fully earning her Nobel Prize for literature this year.
Windisch is a miller living in a German-speaking village in Ceausescu's Romania. It is his dream to get a passport and escape to West Germany: the Romanians don't like the Germans and are happy for them to go, but still, acquiring the passport is not easy. In this world, relationships between spouses are devoid of warmth or tenderness; parents are suspicious of their children and women are regarded as little better than whores.
Windisch's hope of a passport away is a poisoned chalice, however: it lies almost exclusively with his attractive daughter, Amelie, a nursery-school teacher, who is literally screwed by the Church and the State, those anonymous institutions that were meant to protect her.
Often harrowing, startling, as devoid of decoration as the world she is describing, Müller's work demands to be read.
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 5 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
Indiana Jones sequel confirmed by Lucasfilm - but will Harrison Ford return to the franchise?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils