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Book Title: Todo lo que tengo lo llevo conmigo|
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The author of the book: Herta Müller
Date of issue: 2010
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 665 KB
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A book which must not be rushed through, that's how beautiful the language is. It's hard to believe it was translated from the German. A book about the will to live, among other things, and the richness of life even under horribly reduced circumstances. To read it merely as an account of life in the Gulag would be too limiting. It goes much deeper.
Late in life a gay man remembers what it was like to be transported from his family home in Romania to the Russian Gulag. It was 1945 and he was a 17-year old ethnic German and so must be made to pay for the crimes of Hitler. Romania had been a combatant allied with the Axis Powers. Needless to say, this young man had nothing to do with the war. Moreover, what should have been for him a memorable period of sexual awakening, was in fact a time when homosexuality was a crime punishable by death, a time when Stalin—the murderer of 25 to 50 million of his own people—still ruled.
The novel is based on the true story of the poet Oskar Pastior who lived just long enough to give Herta Müller the background for the novel. That's why it's so filled with authentic facts and vivid description. Every little trick of survival is recalled. How he starved is given particular depth and resonance. With regard to the small cooking fires inmates would make to prepare meals in the evening, the narrator says:When I had nothing to cook, the smoke snaked through my mouth. I drew in my tongue and chewed on nothing. I swallowed my spit with the evening smoke and thought about bratwurst. When I had nothing to cook, I walked close to the pots and pretended that I was on my way to brush my teeth at the well before going to bed. But by the time I put my toothbrush in my mouth I had already eaten twice. First I ate the yellow fire with the hunger of my eyes and then the smoke with the hunger of my mouth. As I ate, everything around me went still, all I could hear was the rumble of the coke ovens from the factory yard. The faster I tried to leave the well, the slower I went. I had to tear myself away from the little fires. In the rumble of the coke ovens I heard my stomach growling, the whole scene was filled with hunger. The skies sank back onto the earth, and I staggered back to the yellow light of the barrack.
Dear friends, a moment of silence . . .
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Read information about the authorHerta Müller was born in Niţchidorf, Timiş County, Romania, the daughter of Swabian farmers. Her family was part of Romania's German minority and her mother was deported to a labour camp in the Soviet Union after World War II.
She read German studies and Romanian literature at Timişoara University. In 1976, Müller began working as a translator for an engineering company, but in 1979 was dismissed for her refusal to cooperate with the Securitate, the Communist regime's secret police. Initially, she made a living by teaching kindergarten and giving private German lessons.
Her first book was published in Romania (in German) in 1982, and appeared only in a censored version, as with most publications of the time.
In 1987, Müller left for Germany with her husband, novelist Richard Wagner. Over the following years she received many lectureships at universities in Germany and abroad.
In 1995 Müller was awarded membership to the German Academy for Writing and Poetry, and other positions followed. In 1997 she withdrew from the PEN centre of Germany in protest of its merge with the former German Democratic Republic branch.
The Swedish Academy awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature to Müller, "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed".
She currently lives in Berlin, Germany.
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