Extracts From Herta Müller

Winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature, Herta Müller will accept her prize at the award ceremony in Oslo on 10 December.

Sweden’s Royal Academy of Science has awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature to the Romanian-born German writer Herta Müller, for being a writer ‘who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.’ Born in Romania in 1953, Müller migrated to Germany in 1987, where she made her literary debut in 1982 with a book of short stories entitled, ‘The Plains’.   ‘Atemschaukel’ (working title in English, ‘Everything I Have I Carry With Me’), the most recent work by this writer who writes well in both German and Romanian, is currently being prepared for publication in several languages.

Herta Müller’s first book to be published in Turkey was ‘The Heart’s Animal’ (English title ‘The Land of Green Plums’). Translated into Turkish in 1997 by Telos Yayıncılık, it tells the story of friends whose lives are destroyed by dictatorship. Critics have said of the book, which does not merely describe what it’s like to live under fear and oppression but literally rehearses it, ‘Never before has literature described what a dictatorship is in this way.’

“... The ant has a head the size of a pinhead, so the sun can find no place to burn... The ant loses it way... It wanders erratically, but it does not live, and does not appear to be an animal... The fly lives and appears to be an animal because it is three times bigger and carried on the ant’s back...” You will understand how distinctive Herta Müller’s style is when you read her book, ‘Even Back Then, the Fox Was a Hunter’ .