- Prime Student members get £10 off with a spend of £40 or more on Books. Enter code SAVE10 at checkout. Enter code SAVE10 at checkout. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
The Fox Was Ever the Hunter Paperback – 2 Mar 2017
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"A haunting portrayal."--The Washington Post
"Extraordinary . . . A profoundly unsettling novel."--The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"The Fox Was Ever the Hunter is a collage of images, stories and fragments of forbidden songs. . . . When the collage is completed, the reader understands that each and every one of Muller's stories, every flight of luscious language and every brutal fact, has been necessary in depicting a society torn to pieces."--The New York Times
"Reads like poetry . . . The Fox Was Ever the Hunter is a short book, but the way Muller narrates gives it a luminescence, like wet stone seen at night. . . . Of the writers to survive life under the Communist bloc, Muller has written most poignantly about the way surveillance and state control at once necessitated and warped the fabric of love. . . . From the moment she left, Muller has exercised her voice with a fury that vibrates off the page nearly a quarter century later. In this vividly poetic novel, she reminds us what life without that freedom looked, felt, and tasted like."--Boston Globe
"A dark collage, which glints with fear--and with beauty . . . Muller's prose--as poetic as it is blunt--works like a prism, shattering and illuminating a world that is always watching, waiting."--The Atlantic
"Perhaps no author has captured the surreal textures of Iron Curtain paranoia quite like Herta Muller."--Vogue.com (Best Books of the Month)
"This newly translated 1992 novel set during the twilight of Romania's Ceau?escu regime makes vivid the persecution Muller and others suffered. . . . She uses the distinctive language honoured by the Nobel Committee for its 'concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose' to give a powerful sense of the toxic atmosphere of a totalitarian regime."--BBC Culture (UK)
"Atmospheric, lyrical . . . An essential work of post-Iron Curtain literature and a harrowing portrait of life under suspicion."--Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"Offers a bleak and poetic portrait of Romanian village life in the final days of the Ceau?escu regime, where deprivation is ubiquitous, cruelty is standard, and spying is a survival skill. . . . Thickly lyrical and sometimes downright hallucinatory . . . few descriptions of life under totalitarian rule are as beautifully evocative."--Booklist (starred)--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
HERTA MULLER was born as part of a German-speaking minority in Romania in 1953. She attended school and university in Timisoara. After refusing to work for the Romanian Secret Service, the Securitate, she lost her job as a translator in a machine factory. In 1987, she emigrated to Germany and has lived in Berlin ever since. She writes in German and has a string of literary prizes to her name, including the Aspekte Literature Prize (1984), the Kleist Prize (1994), the Prix Aristeion (1995), the Konrad Adenauer prize for literature (2004), the Nobel Prize in Literature (2009) and the Heinrich Boll Prize from the city of Cologne (2015).
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The Hunger Angel is notable for how thoroughly it describes life in a prison camp, and yes, the feeling of being hungry all the time, for weeks and months.
The Fox Was Ever the Hunter has an interesting cast of characters set at a difficult time and in a place rarely described--Romania before the fall of Ceausescu. The book is much more than an ensemble portrayal: I encourage readers to read all the way through the end.
Then you will want to look up a bit of history.
Curses are cold. They have no need of dahlias or bread or apples
or summer. Curses are not for smelling and not for eating. Only
for churning up and laying down flat, for an instant of rage and
a long time keeping still. Curses lower the throbbing of the
temples into the wrist and hoist the dull heartbeat into the ear.
Curses swell and choke on themselves. [tr. Philip Boehm]
And what is the cause of this curse? Simply that a young woman, Clara, sunbathing with her friend Adina, has pricked a finger while sewing. The language seems far in excess of the immediate cause. The novel proceeds in vignettes described in language much like this, often less surreal but occasionally more so. There is a powerful sense that Müller is describing more than she is ostensibly talking about, that the curses are caused less by the prick of a needle than the accumulated pressure of living under a totalitarian regime. (Though published in 2009, the novel is set under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, who was deposed in 1989.)
But I had forgotten why I had been put off by that first Müller novel. That too had surreal, even poetic, writing, but I found it hard to sustain my interest to cover an entire novel. And so it is here. Adina is a teacher and Clara works in a factory; they are two of the maybe half-dozen recurrent characters in the book. But to speak of characters is to imagine significant interaction between them and a more or less normal plot. The plot, such as it is, is encroaching rather than linear. There are a few acts of violence—a foreman who impregnates his workers, a police raid on a concert—and an increasing sense of paranoia. It begins to seem that one of the group is informing on the others. But the first signs that any of the characters are being targeted is symbolic rather than actual: Adina keeps returning home to find that pieces are being severed from her fox-fur rug. Somewhat creepy, yes, but also a little absurd—but then I have heard life in Soviet Europe described that way too.
While I loved the writing in small doses, I had a real problem opening myself to the book as a novel, so would recommend it only for sampling, not reading complete.
An outsider begins dating Clara, a member of the core group, and she rather quickly realizes that her new lover is a member of the secret police, charged with the interrogation and torture of Romanian citizens who find themselves on the wrong side of an ever blurry line of conformity. Clara justifies her association with this man by assuming her friends will be protected by her relationship, but the opposite is true, and his presence means they are all being watched. As the last weeks of Ceausescu’s reign approach, everyone in the group finds themselves in grave danger, and each takes their own precautions with varying results.
Muller’s poetic prose is beautiful. There is so much meaning in everything she writes, metaphor after metaphor sketching the constant level of fear and oppression. This is definitely a novel that lends itself to multiple readings and much contemplation. Perhaps the most used metaphor was that of seemingly ubiquitous poplars and the knife-like shade they cast. Having grown up near a poplar wind screen, this created in my mind a perfect image of an ever present force above, always able to look down and cast a shadow on the people, the knife like shadows indicative of watchers with the power to inflict pain. Time and again, Muller uses seemingly banal daily occurrences to subtly but deftly demonstrate the difficulties of Romanian life under the regime.
While The Fox Was Ever the Hunter is mostly very serious, there was an occasional bit of humor and some of these moments may well be what I remember most about the novel as time passes. A very funny test a wife administers to her husband each night he comes home from drinking, and a quite unorthodox method the women had of “binding themselves” to their men are two of the anecdotes I’m unlikely to forget.
I’m certainly not qualified to say whether or not a translation is a good one, but Boehm’s is so readable that I sense he must have delivered Muller’s message. Muller makes tangible the 1989 Romanian Revolution and does so at the level of the common man, one of the novel’s many strengths. While it may well be true that nobody who did not live through it can completely understand it, Muller has ensured that the reader will feel some of the essence of those tumultuous times.
Note: ARC received free via NetGalley
A brief except "The ant has the head of a pin, the sun can't find any place to burn. The sun stings. The ant loses its way."
If pages like this appeal to you, read on. I found it boring.