- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: St Martin's Press; 1st Picador USA Ed edition (27 Sept. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312420544
- ISBN-13: 978-0312420543
- Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 1.6 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,048,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Appointment Paperback – 27 Sep 2002
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More About the Author
A brooding, fog-shrouded allegory of life under the long oppression of the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. "The New York Times" A slim, masterfully written tale. "Newsweek" A taut and brilliant book. "Chicago Tribune" Powerful...Muller achieves something beautiful. She has wrested poetry from one woman's desire to remain human in an inhuman system. "Newsday" Muller scatters narrative bombshells across a field of dreams. "San Francisco Chronicle" With terse poetry, Muller brings to life a profoundly moving world...the lyrical beauty of the prose and its unflinching moral and emotional honesty carry the reader. "Bookforum""
About the Author
Born in Romania in 1953, Herta Muller lost her job as a teacher and suffered repeated threats after refusing to cooperate with Ceausescu's Secret Police. She succeeded in emigrating in 1987 and now lives in Berlin. The recipient of the European Literature Prize, she has also won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for her previous novel, "The Land of Green Plums.""
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Top Customer Reviews
In the tramway which takes her to the interrogation office, she recalls the main events in her life: marriage, infidelities, brief encounters, professional traveling, sexual harassment, the alcoholism of her partner or the continuous monitoring of her private life.
In a melancholic tone and progressing by association, Herta Müller masterfully evokes a demoralized society ('the indifference with which I would have liked to have died down there, I who loved so devilishly life '), dominated by a corrupt bureaucracy ('perfumed communists') and plagued by alcoholism and suspicion (there are spies everywhere). In short, a dictatorship, a prison.
The only way to escape these hopeless living conditions is emigration at all costs to a free country.
The story exposes a system that has paralyzed an entire population in order to consolidate the power of a tiny minority of former revolutionaries, who became cynic tyrants.
Highly recommended to all lovers of world literature.
'The park was a sheer wall of blackish green, the sky clutching at the trees.'
Without Ms Muller giving us too much explicit detail about what went on, she manages to create an immensely chilling book. The constantly watching other people, wondering if they are spies... The way that false crimes could be attributed to you by anyone you upset...An entire society, many members of whom are paying lip service to a regime they don't support, through fear and hope of 'moving up the ladder' if they comply:
'First he was a fascist; later he said he'd been in the Communist underground...Anyone poor became a Communist. So did many rich people who didn't want to end up in a camp. Now my father's dead and if there's a heaven up there, you can be sure he's claiming to be a Christian.'
Absolutely rivetting book which I would say needs a second read to help you pick up on all the symbols and motifs that pepper the pages.
This is for me a difficult book to review, as I found it difficult to understand. It seemed to flit between different scenes, as the narrators mind flitted around her own thoughts and experiences. In many ways it can be seen as the narrators life story, at least of her adulthood, as it contains so many different underlying threads. The main thread is however fear, fear or others and what they may say to incriminate you if you do anything deemed to be out of the norm. This may seem a small and insignificant fear to us, but under the notorious Ceeausescu regime, it carried with it the real fear of interrogation and death. That then is the narrators fear as the story unfolds.
As the blurb suggests, she has been summoned to appear before her inquisitors, the notorious Secret Police. This is not her first interrogation, and is not likely to be the last. As she sits on the tram en route to her appointment, her thoughts begin to wander to what brought her to this point and everything that has happened in her life up until now. The one person that she can rely on is her husband Paul, but this too turns out to be a sham, as when she misses her stop, she sees something that sheds light on tne nature of her relationship and brings her fear into sharp focus witn an almost chilling perspective.
Thought it would be something I would like. I can't read this sort of thing all the time, just too, too dark but I very much like the work of East German author Jenny Erpenbeck and The Appointment is similar in tone to VISITATION.
It has an interesting structure and as a published author, I found myself frequently impressed with Herta Muller's rigour. Never once loses control.
Why not five stars? Well, it isn't perfect, I suppose. While I don't mind the plot meandering a bit, it should be to some purpose and occasionally I felt that characters and situations had been included without thinking through what they added [or subtracted]. All in the name of a broader canvas, I guess.
I don't want to say too much about the story; the Amazon summary covers it but in any case this novel isn't really about what happens next. It is about life in a police state, on a daily basis.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Herta Muller never tells us specifically that the setting is Communist Romania under Ceausescu's brutal dictatorship, so this could be the model for any repressive regime. Read morePublished on 14 Nov. 2013 by Antenna
it has taken me too long to get into It properlyso I'm unable to say a lot more at the moment until I get further into it.Published on 27 Dec. 2012 by map toffal
It started off quite interesting. Then I got bored. Then I got irritated. Then I realised I was reading a rambling mess. Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 2012 by J. Thomas
I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book having read the great reviews. The back of the book sounded so promising too. However, I was sorely disappointed. Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2011 by Mary H
As in 'The Land of Green Plums', Muller graphically relates how, living under the deadening effect of the relentless repression of Ceausescu's regime,people could barely remain... Read morePublished on 11 Nov. 2011 by Philip Herring
In communist Romania, we follow the thoughts and memories of a factory seamstress as she takes a tram ride to an interrogation. Read morePublished on 20 Oct. 2011 by jacr100