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Herta Müller: The Hunger Angel

Herta Müller: The Hunger Angel

English translation by Philip Boehm. USA 2013, 289 pp., brochure, € 17.95
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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. He is gay, and hemmed in, imprisoned already, by the laws and misplaced narrow morality of the town. He has already found the joys of sex in secluded wooded areas or empty bath house saunas, and well knows the horrendous penalties if he is caught. But now he 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 camp. His grandmother says he will return, and this becomes his mantra throughout the skin-and-bones ordeal. But, in fact, he is eager to leave. In this novel, Nobel laureate Herta Müller has given Leo the language to express the inexpressible, as hunger sharpens his senses into an acuity that is both hallucinatory and profound.
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