Herta Muller. Michael Hulse & Philip Boehm, trans.
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Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller presents this terse allegory of life under the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. An unnamed clothing-factory worker is summoned once again for questioning. Her crime? Sewing notes into the linings of men's suits bound for Italy. "Marry me," the notes say, with her name and address. As she rides the tram to her interrogation, she remembers her friend Lilli, shot trying to flee to Hungary; her grandparents, deported after her first husband informed on them; Major Albu, her interrogator, who begins each session with a wet kiss on her palm; and her lover Paul—her one source of trust despite his constant drunkenness. In her distraction, she misses her stop and finds herself on an unfamiliar street. What she discovers there makes her fear of the appointment pale by comparison.
"Müller scatters narrative bombshells across a field of dreams."—SFChronicle